As a pet owner, you probably expect your beloved animal to experience a tick at least once during their lifetime and you wouldn’t be wrong. Most domestic pets will suffer from at least one tick bite. Unfortunately, these pesky little parasites have a nasty habit of hitching a ride into our homes on our pets, and this can pose further problems for us since tick infestations can occur if even one tick is bought inside. Ticks can lay their eggs in different parts of the home, but they are most often found in small crevices near skirting boards, window and door surrounds, between folds in curtains, under furniture and in or under rugs.
If you end up with a tick infestation, it could take you weeks or even months to get it under control. In the meantime, you and anyone else living in your property – pet or human – could find yourself acting as an all-you-can eat buffet to these unwanted house guests. Not only that, but ticks are well-known for carrying a host of different infectious diseases, some of which can have serious health consequences for any mammal that is bitten.
No-one wants to be battling a tick infestation in their property and so we have put together this short guide on what you need to know about ticks and how to tick-proof your home.
What you need to know about ticks
Ticks are very small, wingless parasites. They vary in color from white and grey to dark brownish red and are actually part of the arachnid family. They are more prevalent in the summer months, but in some states they can survive all year round. They prefer to live in tall grasses, shrubbery and trees and attach themselves to your pet when she wanders by. Once on her body, they quickly migrate to an area of the body rich with blood such as her stomach or inside of her thighs and bury its head into her skin to feed. Special cement-like paste is excreted which helps the tick remain attached to your furbaby, where it may feed for up to 72 hours before dropping off. During this time, the tick can transmit any infectious disease it may be carrying to your pet.
The best thing to do if you spot a tick is to remove it immediately. However, you must be sure to do so carefully so that no infected blood gets on yours or your pet’s skin. You must then watch your pet/yourself carefully for any sign of a tick-borne disease such as Lyme Disease or Anaplasmosis.
How to keep ticks out of your home
The best way to keep ticks out of your home is to troubleshoot your backyard as this is where a tick is most likely to enter your property from. Without proper yard maintenance you could have a whole family of ticks just waiting for your pet to head outside.
– Cut back all shrubs and overhanging trees.
– Keep your lawn mowed short.
– Clear pathways of debris and overhanging plants.
– Discourage other pets and wildlife from coming into your yard as they may have ticks that they will bring in with them. You can do this by ensuring you don’t leave any bowls of food outside, and that all garbage is secured safely away.
The other key part of tick prevention is to keep your pet adequately protected. There are many different types of tick preventatives on the market, ranging from collars and spot-on treatments to oral medications. These will repel ticks from your animal so that they do not bite her and do not end up coming into your property with her as they will drop off and try and find a new host. If you aren’t sure which preventative is right for your pet, contact us and ask our veterinarian.