Tick Populations Predicted to Rise This Year
Tick populations have been steadily increasing, and experts are predicting even higher than normal numbers in most areas of the country. Migratory birds and white-tailed deer acting as carriers have expanded the range of many tick species, while conservation efforts such as decreased reliance on insecticides and the preservation of open space have helped them thrive. These are causes of concern for pet owners, since ticks aren’t just a nuisance to pets—they can be downright dangerous to their health.
How Many Species of Ticks Are There?
There are more than eighty different species of ticks in the United States. The most threatening species (those with greater ranges and the ability to transmit common diseases) will feed on a variety of hosts, including dogs, cats and humans. Among these are:
- American dog tick, occurring east of the Rockies and in limited ranges on the Pacific Coast
- Deer tick or black legged tick, found widely distributed in forested areas of the Eastern U.S. with a related species occurring along the Pacific Coast
- Lone Star tick, distributed across the U.S. east of Central Texas
- Rocky Mountain wood tick, ranging through the Rocky Mountain states
The Dangers Ticks Present to Pets
Various tick species transmit several serious diseases that affect dogs, cats, and people, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some dogs are even allergic to tick saliva, which may compound the danger to your pet’s health.
Even a tick that is not transmitting disease can cause discomfort for your pets. Symptoms of a pet suffering from tick feeding include rashes, hair loss, and skin irritation. Know how to remove a tick from a cat or dog safely.
Environments Ticks Like to Thrive In
Ticks do not like open, sunlit areas but prefer shaded, moist environments. It’s important to monitor areas where your pets roam, and to check them thoroughly if they wander into deep grasses or woods. Maintaining an open yard at home (keeping vegetation outside of fence lines, cutting shrubbery, etc.) is highly recommended for tick prevention.
Most of the ticks affecting pets come from wild animals, particularly the rodent and deer populations. There are a record number of deer in the United States this year, hence the predicted higher risk of ticks, especially in the eastern half of the country and along the Pacific Coast.
Controlling Ticks to Prevent Infection
Prevention of tick feeding is an essential part of tick control, as is limiting the time that ticks have to feed. The longer a tick remains attached to its host, the better the chances of disease transmission. Readily available Adams™ pet care products can help:
- Shampoos: Clean, condition and deodorize your pet’s coat while eliminating ticks.
- Dips: Provide immediate, short-term pest control.
- Pet Sprays and Mists: kill the bugs on your pet on contact.
- Spot On® products: kill ticks on your pet for up to 30 days.
- Home products: kills fleas and ticks inside the home.
- Outdoor yard sprays: Kill ticks on lawns where pets play.
Spot On is a registered trademark of Wellmark International. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.