With the heat of summer here, more time outdoors poses greater opportunity for ticks to attach to dogs and humans.
Ticks need a cool environment to live, so they often gravitate toward shade and dirt during the summer. Dogs and cats look for shade in the heat, making them prime candidates for getting ticks.
Just because ticks live outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your four-legged friend explore the outdoors. Preparing yourself and your dog is the best prescription in the book to avoid ticks, said Julia Lewis, chief veterinary officer at .
“The best thing is always prevention obviously,” said Lewis.
She recommends Advantix, Frontline Plus or Vectra 3D which prevent against ticks. People should wear long pants with socks tucked into them, so that ticks have no way of attaching themselves to the skin.
Elizabeth Lee, who owns three dogs including a charcoal lab named Gunner, said that she uses Advantix II and hasn’t had any problems with ticks.
If your dog has a tick, Lewis said to keep the body and head intact. “Use tweezers, but try to get as close to the skin by not incorporating the tick in there,” she said.
Both Lewis and Myron Jorgensen, vet and owner of , said they use hemostats, a clamp-like instrument used to reduce blood flow. Lee said a tick remover called Ticked Off works very well for use at home.
Lewis said, “There’s a lot of old wives tales about using Vaseline or gasoline. Don’t do that.”
Lyme disease is the real fear behind ticks. If the tick is not removed properly and entirely, there is the risk of the bacteria being released. The bacteria live in the gut of the tick.
“If you squish the tick, they can regurgitate their gut contents,” said Lewis.
Luckily Lewis said that Lyme disease isn’t very prevalent in the Silicon Valley area.
Even though Lyme disease isn’t common, many ticks attach themselves to dogs and humans. Lewis and Jorgensen agreed that this year is pretty normal for ticks.
Joseph Weinstein, dog owner and resident of Milpitas since 1976, said his dog has never gotten a tick inside the during the seven years he’s been going there.
“If you go take you dog outside the dog park, he’ll immediately get a tick,” said Weinstein.
Monday night over 40 ticks were pulled off a little dog that was found in Sunnyvale, said Lewis.
Jorgensen said that several dozen dogs are brought in every year to have ticks removed.
If you would like assistance in removing a tick, visit the Center for Disease Contol and Prevention website for instructions or schedule an appointment with your vet if your dog has the tick or your physician if you have the tick.