Ticks and Your Pets


Tics, they’re coming….okay, not really and this is not a cheesy horror film script. Nor do ticks come actively chasing after you or your pet. It is warming up now, so those ticks that were in hibernation (yes, they really didn’t die over winter) will be more active in search of blood and making tick babies! Unfortunately, it also means that they can spread diseases such as Lyme, Ehrlichia, or Anaplasmosis. Let’s dispel some myths and talk about how to protect yourselves & your pets.

Ticks and Your Pets - Vet Chat with Dr. Ryan Llera


Remember when I said they ticks won’t chase you? I meant it! Ticks participate in a process called “questing” where they hang out on brush or tall grasses waiting for a ride on a person or animal. So no, they don’t jump like fleas or fall out of trees. Also some of those ticks out there are in their second year of life. The cold weather (even here in the Kingston, Ontario region) doesn’t kill them but they can find places to hibernate under brush where it can remain slightly humid.

Ticks like warm places so when you come in from the outdoors, you’ll want to check those crevices on your pets like between toes, skin folds if they have wrinkles, and armpit & groin areas. In the great infographic below from Carrington College, removal of ticks is shown in a step by step process. I do want to add that the tweezers should be a fine tipped, almost to a point, rather than blunt ended tweezers which may crush the tick’s head causing it to break off. Oh no!! What happens if the tick’s head stays embedded? Simply put, a local skin irritation will occur and the head will fester our eventually but the possibility of spreading disease is gone. Speaking of disease, signs may not appear for weeks or even months after the tick has bitten.

Check out the info graphic from Carrington College below for a few more tips and be sure to protect yourselves and your pets from these 8-legged critters!

Ticks and Your Pets - Vet Chat with Dr. Ryan Llera

Checking for and Removing Ticks – Info graphic courtesy of Carrington College

Another way of removing ticks is with a tool called a “tick twister” which sort of looks like a mini-crowbar. You simply slide the hook between the body of the tick and the bitten victim’s skin, the rotate counter-clockwise while gently pulling. Other than making sure to check your pet (and yourself) for ticks, you can help protect them with a monthly preventative in a topical or oral, chewable form that will kill those ticks before they have a chance to harm your pet. As a bonus, these products from your veterinarian also kill fleas!


Dr. Ryan Llera is a veterinarian in Kingston, Ontario. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook and be sure to follow his blog as he shares life as a vet and pet owner, Dr.Ryan Llera.com

Author: Kelly Harding

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  1. This is super helpful information that every pet owner should know! Thanks for sharing it! I’m definitely bookmarking this post for later!

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  2. Blech! I hate ticks! There is absolutely no reason for anything to have more than four legs except for maybe Starfish and Octopi. I recently read an article about how possums eat ticks and was seriously Googling “Is it legal to own a possum in Colorado?” Apparently, it’s not 😉 so, your article is timely and now I know who to call if anyone gets a tick over here because even with those great instructions, I’m kind of a wuss about blood sucking creepy crawlies. Seriously, though this will be really helpful when I have call the neighbor over to help me remove a tick from one of my dogs. 😉

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    • We all need a possum 😉
      I don’t like creepy crawlies either, but the results of one of these ticks on our pet or ourselves would make me brave enough to remove it.

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  3. We have woods in our back yard and it has loads of ticks. I really hate them and do my best to treat my dogs so they won’t be bothered by ticks. My kids often find ticks on themselves,so we’ve gotten pretty good about checking ourselves when we come inside.

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    • Ticks are not only an issue for pets! How scary it must be to find them on your children.

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  4. Great information and one of the key reasons I now carry tweezers and a little first aid kit when I travel! We were in CA without any of these items, and went for a walk on the beach, through beach grass. We were young and uninformed. You guessed it – these gross little critters got on our pups. We had no idea what to do – this was prior to the internet. So, never having smoked before, I lit up a cigaret and gently focused the heat on to them, one at a time and each time they popped out. Man – we were lucky! Thanks for sharing your knowledge – we appreciate it!

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