Veterinarians recommend that we remove ticks from our pets with tweezers or another tool that they recommend. Don't be one of those pet owners that prefer to use home remedies. Most are nothing more than old wives tales and they could harm your pet.
So, what are ticks? They are tiny little parasites and they cause big problems for us and our pets. There are a lot of stories out there about ticks. Especially on how to remove them. Most, if not all, are ineffective and can often be extremely dangerous to our pets.
Below are some of the most common myths that I come across. Many of which could harm your pet.
1. Ticks Are the Same As Fleas
This is probably the most common myth about ticks. And this is partly due to the monthly medications that people give to their pets to control both ticks and fleas. The first thing that you should realize is that ticks can't jump like fleas do. Also, ticks have eight legs (as adults) and fleas have six. This means that they are closely related to spiders and mites and not other insects.
2. Ticks Can Only Get On Your Pet By Falling Out Of Trees
This is simply untrue. Even though it is possible, most tick infect a host through a behavior called questing. In this behavior, a tick will climb up onto a blade of grass. There it will wait until your pet comes along and it will quickly grab onto your pet's fur. It will then make its way through your pet's fur to the skin finding a suitable spot and attach itself to begin feeding. To prevent your pet from gaining this unwanted parasite you should try to keep your pet away from wooded areas and leaf piles. If your pet does end up in these areas you should thoroughly check your pet for ticks and remove them immediately.
3. Ticks Can Still Transmit Disease If the Head Breaks Off In the Animal's Skin
This is another myth that is heard quite often by veterinarians. The truth is no. Once the body is removed from the head the tick can no longer transmit any diseases. When removing a tick you should try to remove the whole tick. Many times this is not possible, however. But if the head remains embedded in the skin it is not a big problem. Eventually, it will fall out. A warm compress on the affected area will help to speed up the process of the falling out.
4. Internet Home Remedies Are Better Than Using Tweezers
A lot of people on the Internet write about stuff that they know nothing about just to get a bunch of gullible people to follow them. It's a popularity gimmick. All those remedies do not work. And they are really dangerous to your pet. Like the one that tells you to light a match and bring the flame close to the tick. Sure the tick will let go usually at the same time that your pet catches on fire. Try placing a burning match near your hair. You'll go up like the fourth of July. Hair and fur are extremely flammable. A method that I use is to heat the tip of a pin in a flame and then touch the back of the tick with the tip of the heated pin. It has worked every time for me without harming my dog. The proper way, however, of removing ticks is to use tweezers or another tick-removal tool.
5. Cats Will Get Rid Of Ticks When They Groom Themselves
OK, this one has some truth to it. Many times ticks will be removed by the cat while they are grooming but not all the time. But cats usually do not remove all ticks through the grooming process. Also, if the tick has attached itself to a spot where the cat can't lick it will not be removed. Cats and other animals can become anemic if they are heavily infested with ticks. These parasites have a huge appetite. Another problem is that they can transmit a disease called cytauxzoonosis which causes serious illness or death.
6. Only Pet Can Contract A Disease From Ticks
This is a very dangerous misconception about the diseases that ticks transmit. Protecting your pets from ticks will also protect your family. Most people don't realize that ticks can also cause disease in humans and sometimes even death. The fact is that ticks transmit disease through their bites. They inject some of their salivae into the wound to keep the blood from clotting. Their saliva is how they transmit disease. And fleas will not only bite animals but they will also bite humans. That's when you are at risk of contracting Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.
7. Pets Only Need To Be Protected From Tick In the Summer
It is true that ticks usually disappear with the first frost. But what if a tick laid eggs in your house? Since you keep your house well heated throughout the colder months it allows ticks to develop and grow. Attacking you and your pets at will. So, you need to protect your pet from ticks year-round.
Now that we've covered the 7 common myths about ticks what's the next step? To properly protect your pet against ticks and other parasites you should talk with your veterinarian. This is the person that knows more about the tick problem in your area and he or she will help you to decide on which tick-control product is right for your pet. And stick to the schedule. If you apply the treatment on the first of the month you need to reapply it on the first of every month. And don't forget to check your pet regularly for ticks, fleas, and other external parasites.