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Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Because they can spread a number of serious diseases, ticks are dangerous to people and pets. Our Westport vets list symptoms to watch for and how to keep this external parasite away from your pets and your family. 

What are ticks?

This external parasite feeds on human and animal blood. Ticks cannot jump or fly. Instead, they rely on hosts to transport them from one location to the next. 

They usually hitch a ride on wild animals to come onto your property, then infect pets which can then bring ticks into your home.

Are ticks dangerous?

As they can spread a number of serious diseases, ticks are dangerous to both people and pets. Their saliva contains bacteria and germs - such as Lyme disease - that can be transmitted to people. 

Protecting pets and family from ticks

What do Ticks look like in Fairfield County?

Up to 15 species of ticks live in Fairfield County. The most common species include the lone star tick, brown dog tick and American dog tick. 

The brown dog tick is reddish-brown in color and about 1/8 of an inch long if they haven't fed, and up to 1/2 an inch in length if they have fed. They are most likely to thrive in warm environments. 

The American dog tick is reddish-brown in color, except they differ from brown dog ticks in that they have yellow or white markings. Males are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length, and females top them at a bit longer than that. They can grow up to 1/2 inch when fully engorged. They are often seen along wooded paths, in farm pastures and in parks. They are most active in the spring, summer and fall. 

The lone star tick is brown in color and about 1/8 of an inch in length; females will have a white spot in the middle of their backs. Most active in the spring, summer and fall months, they can often be seen from April through July. People living in Tennessee are most likely to come into contact with these. 

How do I check my pet for ticks?

Even after short walks through brush and grass, carefully inspect your dog's fur. don't forget to look between the toes, between legs, around the neck, inside the ears and deep within the fur. 

How do I get rid of or prevent ticks? 

Fortunately, pet parents have many different options at their disposal for getting rid of and preventing ticks on a dog or small pet. Ask your vet for recommendations. Options may include spot treatments, tick collars, medications and perhaps even bathing your pet with medicated shampoo to kill ticks on contact. 

Keep your own lawn trimmed to help reduce ticks in your yard. This is an easy way to give ticks one less area to live and breed; therefore, there will be fewer of them around. You should also limit the amount of time your pet spends outside during peak tick season. 

Tick prevention is part of our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.

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Westport Veterinary Associates has been providing comprehensive veterinary care for your cherished pets in Fairfield County since 1993.

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