Ticks are small, spider-like, arachnids that are native to many regions of North America. With their abilities to spread dangerous diseases to not only dogs, but to other species which include humans as well, it is important to understand and be familiar with ticks in Canada and the dangers they bring to you and your pets.
Ticks typically become active during Spring when the weather begins to warm up to around 5°C. During this time they will start searching for blood hosts that they can latch on to and use as a stable food source for several days. With the use of motion, ticks are able to identify when their next victim is approaching them; after identification of a host, ticks will begin to “quest” in which they stand up on a blade of grass or another high vantage point and grab a hold of their target. Once the tick latches on to its host it begins to feast on their blood and can then transfer any diseases it is carrying to its host. Some of the tick-carrying diseases which are transmissible from animals to humans include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tularemia.
There are different forms of protection against ticks that include topical solutions, collars, and oral/chewable tick treatments. The best way you can help protect your pet from ticks is to ask your veterinarian which method is right for your pet! In addition, if your pet likes to explore wooded or grassy areas, be sure to check their fur by rubbing your hand or combing through all areas with more attention in areas of the head, neck, ears, and paws (specifically in-between toes). If you do find a tick on your pet be sure to bag it and bring it in to your local veterinarian for testing.
There are many steps you can take to ensure you and your pets stay safe this tick season while still enjoying the beautiful weather! If you have more questions be sure to check out the links provided for a more in-depth discussion about ticks.
Although it’s easy to become fearful of ticks, safe prevention techniques are all you need to enjoy this beautiful weather. So, get out there!