All About Ticks – What You Need to Know

“What is a tick and how do you avoid them,” as well as other important tick-related questions, answered.

Ticks are a major nuisance in every part of the world. From the Scottish Highlands to the Montana Mountains, a tick bite is equally dangerous. Carrying diseases and spreading bacteria, these gross little bugs can torment your pets if you don’t learn how to deal with them. This article details what they are, what they look like, and how you can prevent future tick bites from now on.

What are Ticks?

There are many types of tick, often named for their area. These include the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick and the Gulf Coast Tick. The main ticks to concern yourself with as a pet owner/dog walker are wood ticks and deer ticks. Just as it sounds, you find the wood tick inside woodwork. Not just in the forest, but in your backyard, too. The deer tick hides in the long grass, up in the hills, and in wide areas of scrub.

Which Pets Get Ticks?

Any of our furry household pets can get fleas and ticks. In the wild, animals suffer from this same parasite but without an owner’s care to rid them of the problem. Even horses, sheep, cows, and deer can get ticks simply from moving through long grass. Even humans can get ticks on their skin. They will try to bite you in areas away from the sunlight, such as in your armpits or hair.

What are the Risks of Tick Bites?

Ticks bring the risk of disease when they bite. They are parasites, which cannot survive without a host. They grip onto your pet’s skin and bite in. They can cause different diseases based on the type of tick which bites you.

Tick borne diseases include:

  • Lyme disease comes from every type of tick. This affects memory, causes joint pain, and can give you CNS problems.
  • Colorado Tick Fever, treatable with antibiotics.
  • Babesiosis from blacklegged ticks in the northern US. This causes parasites in your blood and can prove fatal.
  • Lone Star ticks cause Ehrlichiosis, which are normal symptoms plus a rash, and the Heartland Virus, so far only present in Missouri and Tennessee.

Where do Pets Pick Up Ticks?

Ticks live in long grass, in forests, in the woodwork around your outdoor living space and yard. You will find them in trees, living on wild animals, in the dirt, up hills, and in the wild places. However, most people with Lyme disease got it while doing yard work.

What do Ticks Look Like?

Ticks are small bugs which look like beetles. Usually white, grey, or brown, these bugs have pincers and a beetle like body. When they are full of your pet’s blood, they swell and turn brown or red.

How Do You Remove a Tick?

If you have tweezers, you can use them to pull the tick out. However, this comes with potential dangers. If you do not correctly remove the tick, its head can stay lodged within them even as you pull the body off. This is why removing a tick with tweezers is not always a clever idea.

Unfortunately, not all of us are this prepared. You may need to know how to remove a tick without tweezers. Popular methods include taking your pet to the vet, using a tick removal specialized tool, or treating the area with medication which kills off the tick, headfirst.

Treating the Area

Once you have removed the tick, or applied the medication which removes it, you should treat the area as required.

If you used a cream or medicated solution to remove the tick, all that you must do now is keep an eye on the area. If it gets pussy or swollen, take your pet to the vet. The chances are that you won’t have to do this if you removed the whole tick.

If you used tweezers or a tick removal tool to take the ticks off your pet, you still need to treat the area. Treating it will prevent the likelihood of disease or infections. Use alcohol-free wipes to clean the area and be sure you remove the whole head.

Preventing Flea and Tick Bites in Your Pets

When a human wants to prevent flea and bug bites, they can simply reach for the bug spray. Mosquito repellent works well against both. However, these repellents are not suitable for animals. When treating animal fleas and ticks and preventing them in future, you need a strong, reliable treatment made especially for animals. Treat your pet every four weeks to prevent bug bites and keep your family home tick free.