Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks are an external parasite that can spread a number of serious diseases to people and pets. Our Clemmons vets explain what you should look out for, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.


What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals here in the greater Winston-Salem area. 

Ticks rely on host animals for transportation. They cannot fly or jump independently. Typically, wild animals are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property but once ticks have made it onto your property, pets can easily become hosts and bring ticks into your house.

Are ticks dangerous?

Yes! Ticks spread a number of serious diseases to both humans and animals. The saliva of infected ticks contains germs and bacteria that can easily be transmitted to people. Lyme disease is one serious condition spread by ticks in the Clemmons area.

What do Ticks look like in North Carolina?

There are 5 different ticks found in the North Carolina area: American dog tick, blacklegged tick, brown dog tick, lone star tick and Gulf Coast tick. All five species can all carry disease. Here we look at three tick species.  

The brown dog tick typically inhabits warm environments. They're reddish brown in color and are approximately 1/8 of an inch in length before feeding, and up to a 1/2 inch in length when fully engorged. 

American dog ticks are reddish brown in color with white or yellow markings. Males are about 1/8 of an inch in length and females are a bit larger. These ticks can grow up to a ½ inch in length once fed. American dog ticks live along wooded paths, in farm pastures and in parks.

The lone star tick is brown in color and about 1/8 of an inch in length. Females are easy to identify because of the white spot in the middle of their backs. These ticks are known for spreading the alpha-gal allergy, which causes people to form an allergy to eating red meat.

How do I check my pet for ticks?

You should check your pet for ticks whenever your pet has been walking through long grass, in farm fields or in wooded areas.

To check for ticks, carefully examine every inch of your pet's skin, moving the fur out of the way as you go. Be sure to look for ticks in less obvious places such as between the toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around your pet's collar.

How do I get rid of or prevent ticks? 

A variety of treatments and prevention methods are available to keep your pet safe from ticks. Options include oral medications, spot treatments, tick collars, and even bathing your pet with a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to kill ticks on contact. Your veterinarian can help you find the right option for your pet. 

To help keep ticks away from your property, keep your lawn well trimmed and cut back brush that may make an ideal hiding place for ticks. Fewer suitable areas for ticks to live and breed, means fewer ticks near your house. 

Limiting the amount of time your pet spends outside during the height of tick season may also be helpful in protecting your pet against diseases spread by ticks. 

Tick Prevention is part of our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.

Protect Pets from Ticks | Clemmons Vet

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