Ticks are capable of spreading a number of different and serious diseases and, therefore, are dangerous to both pets and people in the Provincetown area. Here, our veterinary team explains how these external parasites thrive, what to look for and how to keep them at bay.
What are ticks?
Ticks are an external parasite that feeds on the blood of both humans and animals. They aren't able to fly or jump and so they rely almost entirely on the hosts for transportation from place to place and, finally, onto your property. Once ticks are in the area around you home, pets will often become hosts and bring them inside.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Provincetown?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Provincetown and has the unfortunate distinction of being responsible for the majority of cases of Lyme disease in Massachusetts. It's joined by the American dog tick as the other most common tick in the state.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male deer ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You are able to use a number of different methods and products for getting rid of and preventing ticks in your pet. Your options include oral medications, tick collars, medicinal shampoo and spot-on treatments. Ask your vet what treatment option is right for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.