Ticks are external parasites that are known to spread a vast number of serious and dangerous diseases to the people and pets of San Jose. Our vets are here to tell you all about these parasites and how to protect your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought 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 San Jose?
The four most common ticks found in San Jose are the American Dog tick, Rocky Mountain Wood tick, Brown Dog tick, and the Black Legged Tick. These species are all responsible for spreading common tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease in our state.
The American Dog tick is oval-shaped and brown with whitish or grey markings and live in areas where grasses, bushes, and plants are accessible to humans. Rocky Mountain Wood ticks are brown but become grayer in appearance when engorged, they are more active on warmer days and crawl up low vegetation waiting for hosts to walk by. The Brown dog tick is reddish-brown and they will crawl up shrubs, grass, and other vegetation to find hosts. Finally, the Black Legged ticks are an orange-brown color with dark legs and prefer vegetation located in transitional areas such as where a forest meets a field, mowed lawn meets unmowed fence line, or a foot trail through high grass.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the 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.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.