Ticks are known to spread many serious diseases which makes them dangerous to people and their pets. Our knowledgeable vets are here to explain how to keep these parasites away from your family and what common signs to look out for.
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, wild animals 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 Denver?
The Rocky Mountain wood tick is one of the most common tick species found in Denver, but the American dog tick is also common.
The Rocky Mountain wood tick can be distinguished by its bright reddish, teardrop-shaped body. They prefer wooded habitats with low-growing vegetation near trails and grasslands frequented by large animals and humans. The American dog tick is similar in appearance but is more flat and oval in shape, and usually brown with whitish-gray markings. The American dog tick also prefers grassy areas with low vegetation where larger animals commonly pass by and thrive in areas that are also accessible to humans.
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.