How To Get Rid Of Ticks

Dealing with ticks can amount to a considerable, exhausting hassle. As you can probably imagine, if you happen to own pets, the problem of ticks can be even more pronounced. Dealing with ticks can strike you as a challenging, almost impossible endeavor, particularly if you are indeed a pet owner. However, there are actually several things you can do, in order to deal with ticks in a proactive fashion.

To begin with, it’s not a bad idea by any means to learn more about the creatures themselves.

Ticks

The first thing about ticks that is worth keeping in mind is the name. Their Latin name is Family Ixodidae, which can be used to describe most common ticks. One of the most interesting things about ticks is their color. The color of the tick can vary significantly from one species to the next.

You will also want to be aware that there are two different families of ticks. The first family would be categorized as hard ticks, while the second family would be categorized as soft ticks. Although they can vary in color and even appearance, all adult ticks are going to be roughly the same size, with several similar features. If they are engorged with blood, adult ticks can clock in at over one cm in length. You will also want to note that adult ticks generally feature round bodies with eight legs.

A tick larvae can check in at less than one millimeter. Some of the more common ticks that you will want to keep an eye out for include American dog ticks, deer/blacklegged ticks, and lone star ticks. All ticks have four stages of life that define their existence, regardless of the specific type of tick that you are dealing with. These stages include egg, larva, nymph, and adulthood. The mating process generally occurs during the time the tick spends on the host animal, which can be a number of different creatures. During the mating stage, females will drop to the ground to deposit their eggs. These eggs will eventually reach a larvae stage, which means they become six-legged seed ticks. It is at this point that the seed ticks will find hosts, attach for the blood meal, drop to the ground afterwards, and eventually make the transition towards becoming eight-legged nymphs.

While there are several problematic elements to ticks, one of the worst things about them that you will need to consider involves their potential for disease.

Tick Bites

Image titled Tick Bite

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Ticks can be found all throughout the United States. Although they tend to be found in the outdoors, they prefer to feed on human beings, as well as our pets. The fact that they are not terribly discriminate about where they get their meals is another problematic element to these creatures that is worth keeping in mind. Moving between four-legged creatures like dogs and cats and people is not particularly challenging for any of the different types of ticks that can be found throughout the United States and elsewhere.

Chances are, if you have spent enough time in the great outdoors, you have dealt with ticks and tick bites at some point. While many tick bites are going to prove to be largely harmless, proving to be so unremarkable that you won’t even notice tick bite symptoms, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the possibly of tick bites seriously. Whether it concerns your pet, yourself, or someone you love, there are tick bites that can prove to cause a host of health problems. In certain extreme cases, tick bites can even prove to be quite deadly.

When it comes to feeding (which will result in tick bites), these creatures tend to prefer moist areas of the body. Armpits, groin, and hair are the places ticks are likely to go, once they have made contact with your body. Regardless of where they wind up, they will begin feeding after finding an ideal spot. One of the more unique elements to ticks is the fact that even after they have finished feeding, they can remain attached to your body. It is not impossible for a tick to remain attached, feeding, for as long as several days, or even several weeks. When they have finished feeding, they will then drop to the ground.

As mentioned before, tick bites are often enough harmless. In most cases, you won’t even be aware of the tick feeding, until you notice the bug (or bugs) on your skin. However, as you can imagine, there are a number of exceptions to this rule that should be kept in mind.

For example, it is possible to be allergic to ticks. In situations such as these, it is possible to experience pains/discomfort, or even a swollen area at the site of the bite. Rashes, blisters, or even burning sensations are all possible symptoms for those who are allergic to ticks. In certain extreme situations, an individual who is allergic to ticks may experience mild-to-severe difficulties in breathing.4

It is also important to appreciate the considerable disease potential behind tick bites. One of the most significant diseases to have substantial connections to tick bites would be Lyme disease, which originated in Lyme CT during the mid-1970s. Since then, the CDC has come to identify three major parts of the United States in which this disease is capable of developing on a natural basis. Hard ticks are the main culprits for this disease, and it is possible for humans, dogs, and other examples or wildlife to be impacted by this illness.

Some of the other diseases associated with tick bites that you will want to be aware of include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, tularemia, and relapsing fever. Common symptoms for diseases associated with tick bites include red spots/rashes near bite sites, stiff necks, headaches/nausea, weakness, muscle/joint pain/achiness, fevers/chills, and swollen lymph nodes. In addition to these symptoms, it is important to note that these symptoms can sometimes fail to appear until long after the tick has bitten you. In the event of a tick bite, try to capture the tick for identification, which can help you to address symptoms, long before they become more serious. If you are unable to remove the tick, you will want to see a doctor as soon as possible. This thought also applies to any situation in which you experience the symptoms mentioned above.

Ticks On Dogs

Image Titled Ticks on Dogs

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By far, dogs tend to suffer far more from tick bites and infestations than humans do. Obviously, there are exceptions to this.

A tick is going to attach itself to your dog by inserting the mouthpart into the skin of your dog. Sticky, glue-like substances are often utilized, in order for the tick to remain attached to its host. Once the attachment is secure, the tick will begin to feed on your dog. Often enough, the feeding spots for ticks on dogs will be obvious due to redness and irritation.

There are several unfortunate elements to ticks and dogs that pet owners must keep in mind. Beyond the fact that ticks can generally move from pets to humans with relative ease, ticks are capable in rare cases of causing anemia in your dog. This only occurs if the tick consumes enough of the blood of your dog. There are also certain female ticks that can cause paralysis in your dog during the feeding process. This is also quite rare, but it is still worth keeping in mind. The paralysis occurs due to toxins that are released during feeding.

Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are perhaps the two most significant diseases attached to dogs and ticks. Lyme disease can lead to painful swelling in the joints of your canine. Arthritis is another common consequence of Lyme disease to keep in mind. Fever and lameness are two of the most common signs with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Keep in mind that there are other potential diseases associated with tick bites and dogs.

Tick Removal

In terms of tick removal, there are several things you should keep in mind. In the first place, understand that prevention can be difficult, depending on where you live, as well as how much time you spend outdoors. Your vet will take your location and situation into account, and suggest products that can at least aid the desire for prevention. Treating your outdoor environment can be useful, if you are concerned about ticks in your backyard. Just make sure you understand the products you are using.

Eliminating certain potential breeding grounds for ticks can also be useful. A three-foot buffer that divides your lawn and the woods can be a challenging DIY project, but it can go a long way towards flea prevention. Mulch, wood chips, and gravel can help to create this buffer.

However, again, tick prevention is quite difficult. Regularly inspecting your pet can certainly do a lot to prevent tick-borne diseases from occurring. If you notice any of the warning signs or symptoms mentioned above, or if you have removed a tick from your dog that you can’t identify on your own, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. You can certainly extend this thought to your own body and health, in terms of visiting your doctor, if you happen to notice anything troubling or suspicious.

Beyond prevention, there are several things you can do to deal with ticks.

How To Remove Ticks

One good way to keep ticks out of your home is to check yourself, other individuals, and/or your pets, if they spend any significant amount of time outside. Remove ticks and wash clothing, in the event that you come across ticks on your body, or anywhere else. If a wild animal gets into your attic or basement, and they happen to be infested with ticks, this can naturally create a variety of problems for everyone in your household. However, it is worth mentioning that unless the tick can find suitable hosts, they are not going to survive very long. Brown dog ticks and soft ticks are amongst the exceptions to this rule.

In fact, ticks spend most of their time off hosts. Furthermore, they can live upwards to three years without blood meals.

Image Titled Tick Removal

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Forceps or tweezers are amongst the most standard tools for tick removal. However, it is certainly within the realm of possibility to remove ticks without these things. In situations such as these, you will want to make sure that the person who is going to remove the tick will do so only after washing their hands. You want to take considerable care as well to avoid crushing the body of the creature. Doing so can significantly increase the potential for catching diseases, as well as increase the potential for coming into contact with harmful bacteria. Gripping the tick as closely as you can to the tip of its head, you will want to engage the process of removal as carefully as possible. You also want to have the mouthpart completely detached from the skin of the victim.

Isolate the tick afterwards. Bottles with lids are always a good idea in this arena. Make sure your hands are thoroughly washed. You will also want to have the impacted area cleaned. If you or the individual who has been bitten by the tick are concerned about additional health concerns, you will want to make an appointment with your doctor. Obviously, the same thought can be extended towards any concerns you might have over your dog.

If your pet comes into contact with ticks and tick bites, make sure to clean as much of the infested area/kennel as possible. Vacuuming can be extremely useful, and you will also want to make sure all of the pet’s bedding items are cleaned, as well. You will also want to try to target harborage regions for ticks, which can include cracks and crevices of all shapes and sizes. Careful use of residual insect sprays/dusts can prove to be highly useful. Treat all areas in which your pet tends to spend their time sleeping, eating, or simply hanging out.

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