There’s no doubt about it, ticks are scary. They’re hard to find, they latch onto skin and they cause tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease and Erlichiosis if left untreated. As the weather warms up, and people along with their pets begin to spend the majority of their time outside, the threat of ticks is real. It’s best to be prepared whether you’re arming yourself with repellant, choosing a preventative for your pet, or just knowing the facts on treating and preventing tick bites.
Because the fear of ticks is real, you may have some misconceptions about ticks that beg to be cleared up. Even though there are a lot of myths out there, we bust five that we think you should “tick” off your list as we enter the warmer months of the season.
1. Myth: “Ticks jump!”
Unlike fleas, ticks don’t jump. They don’t fly, either. You heard that right. While fleas can jump 100-200 times their height and length, ticks are much happier on the ground and in tall grass which makes them expert crawlers to get on your or your pet’s legs.
2. Myth: “I don’t have to worry about ticks after the summer.”
Wrong again. While ticks aren’t as prevalent in the cooler months, it takes just one warm day above 45 degrees to bring these pests out of hibernation.
3. Myth: “Deer ticks are the only ticks I need to worry about.”
A tick is a tick is a tick. While Deer ticks are probably the most commonly known tick, there’s a whole laundry list of ticks to be aware of. Notably, the Deer ticks, Blacklegged ticks, Lone Star ticks, and Dog ticks all have a penchant for transmitting diseases including Lyme disease, Erlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and even an allergy to red meat.
4. Myth: “Ticks are easy to spot because they have huge bodies!”
Most times when you see a photo of a tick online or in a book, it’s already engorged after days of sucking blood from its host. This also means there is an increased risk of some kind of disease. Ticks are tiny–only about 3-5 mm in size. Remember to check your pets and yourself often if you’ve been spending an extended amount of time outdoors.
5. Myth: “Lyme disease is easy to spot”.
First, let’s hope you never need to spot Lyme disease. While Lyme disease can make a ‘bullseye” type of rash on the skin, there are other symptoms to look out for in yourself and in your furry friend including: fatigue, muscle aches, fever, joint swelling, and difficulty breathing.
While ticks can be a source of anxiety when spending time outdoors, the best course of action is to stay vigilant and check yourself and your pets frequently to ensure you both stay healthy. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention solution for your cat or dog as it can vary based on age, breed and where you live. If you haven’t already, download the PetDesk app to schedule your appointment with your veterinarian and set medication reminders. Your pet will thank you.