In the city so nice they named it twice, it’s fitting that ticks get not just one, but two seasons: adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and again in mid-June to November in NYC. Generally speaking, tick activity is at its highest during the warmer months, but you should always be on your guard against them.
As a pet parent, it’s critical to protect your pets and yourself from ticks and other parasites. Ticks transmit numerous illnesses and conditions, the most notorious of which is Lyme disease. Though not the most appealing subject, it’s essential that you know how to safeguard against ticks and what to do if your pet is bitten.
What are ticks and why are they so terrible?
Like spiders, ticks are a type of arachnid and can range in size from a freckle to an apple seed. These literal suckers are external parasites that feed on the blood of other creatures like mammals and birds. Due to their meal of choice, ticks can carry and transmit over a dozen diseases, some of which are deadly or incurable, to us and our pets. So, believe us when we say that these little monsters carry an outsized impact.
Inspection & removal
Ticks typically inhabit places that retain moisture. Think lawns, leaf piles, shrubbery, and wooded areas, though they can be found in urban areas as well. If you and your pet spend time outdoors, especially for activities like hiking or camping, it’s essential that you do full-body inspections afterwards. Pay particular attention to their ears and eyelids, under the collar, around their tail, the groin area, and between toes. Ticks can easily attach themselves through the slightest contact and often blend in as a mole or debris on skin or fur.
If you do locate a tick on your pet, the sooner it’s removed, the better your chances are to minimize infection. Never remove a tick with your fingers; doing so can break the tick apart, leaving its head and mouth embedded in your pet and potentially spreading disease from its ruptured body. Instead, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a special tick removal hook to grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible and pull upward steadily. If the tick does break apart, use tweezers to remove it like a splinter.
Once you’ve extracted a live tick, you can soak it in rubbing alcohol, wrap it tightly in tape, or flush it down the toilet for proper disposal. Be sure to cleanse the area on your pet with rubbing alcohol and wash your hands thoroughly.
Other than routine body checks, your pet’s best defense against ticks is prevention. There are multiple year-round flea and tick preventive medicines available through prescription. You can consult your trusted vet to see what preventive treatment is the right fit for them.
If you own multiple pets and use tick treatments, treat them all at the same time. It’ll help keep you track their dosages and prevent cross-contamination.
Signs & treatments
Whether you find a tick on your pet or not, it’s good to know the signs of potential infection. These can include: fever; loss of appetite; lethargy; trouble walking; swollen joints; and general discomfort. If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms or you suspect that they may have been infected by a tick, immediately contact your vet.
Nearby? Bring ’em to Bond Vet — make an appointment online or just walk in.