Pet parents should keep an eye out for ticks, especially if they or their dogs have been walking through high grass.

As spring gets under way, lingering cool temperatures in parts of the US provide no refuge against one of summer’s worst scourges—ticks.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and bug specialist Dr. Kirby Stafford is advising pet parents to be vigilant.

“Oh yeah, the ticks are coming in,” said Dr. Stafford, chief scientist at the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, according to “They are out. Once temperatures hit even 40 degrees, the adult ticks will start moving.”

Every year, ticks sicken thousands of dogs, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The blood-sucking arachnids are vectors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, and their bites can cause painful wounds.

Diseases caused by ticks can be fatal if they are not treated, according to experts at the ASPCA ®. Other complications can include

• Blood loss
• Anemia
• Tick paralysis
• Skin irritation and infection

Ticks, like this adult female western blacklegged tick, can cause serious illness, including Lyme disease in dogs and humans.

Keeping an eye out for ticks
It’s important to thoroughly check pets for ticks after a romp in the woods.

Though tiny, ticks are visible to the naked eye. They typically live in tall brush and grass, attaching themselves to passing hosts, including dogs and humans. The parasites prefer to feed on the head, neck, ears and feet, but they can hitch a ride on any part of the body.
If you spot a tick on yourself or your dog, the CDC recommends that you remove it as quickly as possible. Here are some tips:

• Do not touch the tick with your bare hands. Instead, protect yourself with a tissue or gloves.

• Using tweezers, pull the tick upward with steady, even pressure. To avoid leaving parts of the tick within the skin, do not twist or jerk the tick. You may have to remove the tick’s mouth parts from the skin.

• After removing the tick, clean and disinfect the wound and your hands.

• Check with your veterinarian if you have questions.

To find out more about ticks and the diseases they cause, visit the CDC’s website. Learn more about Lyme disease and dogs from the ASPCA.



Tags: , , , , , ,

ASPCA Happenings


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.