Ticks can spread a number of different and serious diseases and, therefore, can be dangerous both to pets and people in the Goleta area. Here, our veterinary team explains how these external parasites thrive, what to look for in order to avoid them and how to keep them far from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are an external parasite that feeds on the blood of both humans and animals. Since they aren't able to jump or fly like other external parasites, they rely on their hosts for transportation. Usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks into the area around your home. once ticks have made their way onto your property, pets will frequently become hosts and bring these parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Goleta?
The Western black-legged tick (also called ixodes pacificus) is one of the most common species of tick found in Goleta. It's joined by the Pacific Coast tick, Rocky Mountian tick, American Dog tick and brown dog tick.
Both male and female Western black-legged ticks have flat, oval bodies and are found in wooded, brushy areas. Male deer ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall, while female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host). Western black-legged ticks are longer than they are wide, and have pointed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through grasses and bushes, make sure you check yourself and your pet for ticks. Ensure that you check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside their ears, between their legs and around their neck and between their toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
In order to help keep ticks at bay in your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks far fewer areas to live and breed and reduce the risks of ticks being around. At the height of tick seaseon, you will also want to limit the amount of time your pet will spend outside.