There are many beautiful outdoor adventures awaiting you in the great state of Illinois, however it is crucial that you take the proper precautions not only while on your outings, but upon returning home as well. Despite its misleading name, The American Dog-Tick can not only be found on your adorable and loving furry friend, but really any warm-bodied host that happens to cross its path. Thier blood-sucking means of survival make them the not so glorified vampires of the insect world! Let’s take a closer look at what makes this tiny yet powerful arachnid thrive as well as the different ways they can be identified.
What is an American Dog-Tick?
As previously mentioned, the dog-tick is an 8-legged arachnid, though they are not considered spiders. A more common used name for the dog-tick is a wood tick. They do not have wings and cannot fly, but are adept at latching on to fur and hair that wisps past them within their reach. Dog ticks are typically a reddish-brown color with white or yellow markings. A male tick is about ⅛ inch long, and the female is slightly larger. The female will get much bigger (about ½ inch) after drinking her fill of blood. Ticks are a kind of parasite and must find a mammal host for blood. Typically these mammals include dogs, rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels and any other critter found in the forest. There are cases, however, where a tick can be found to latch onto humans in order to get their means of nourishment. You may be asking yourself how these tiny creatures can burrow into their victim without being detected! Let me explain a little further. Ticks secrete a chemical from their mouth when digging under the skin. This chemical works as an anesthesia, which ultimately keeps the host from ever detecting their presence. So what’s the danger in being host to this unwelcome pest, aside from the obvious horrors of being prey to a miniature blood sucker? Let’s take a closer look at some of the dangers in coming in contact with these sneaky guys.
–Due to the depletion of blood that occurs when a tick is attached to a host, anemia can be common in smaller puppies as well as older animals where large or untreated infestations occur.
–There are some varieties of female ticks that are known to secrete a rare toxin into the blood of their hosts, causing paralysis in the bitten animal or human.
–Dog ticks are also known to cause chronic Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Fever as well as diseases like babesiosis in some hosts. Many dogs infected with the Lyme disease-causing bacteria are known to suffer from joint pain for years to come.
So what are some ways that we can avoid coming in contact with a tick? Here are some precautions to take when deciding to venture out into wooded areas either alone or with the favorite family pet.
How to Avoid Ticks
–Avoid walking your pet out in grassy trails especially in hot, summer months. It’s also important to inspect your pet from time to time for ticks, especially living in Illinois, which is an area that is known to be populated with these parasites.
–When treating your pet, remember to use vet approved tick control products such as permethrin based sprays, powders and shampoos.
–Never pull off a tick from a dog’s or human’s skin with your bare hands. It is important to always use tweezers in order to prevent you from leaving behind tick mouthparts in the host’s skin.
–Clear your yard of clutter as this draws in wild animals like raccoons etc that can bring ticks in your yard.
-Remember to cut and mow the grass regularly. This is an important preventive measure for keeping ticks away from your property. If needed, use organic food grade insecticides like Diatomaceous Earth powders or beneficial Nematode sprays to treat your yard. These are known to kill ticks and fleas without harming your pets.
Now that you know which safety precautions to take, it’s time to adventure out there into the beautiful nature that surrounds you in the great state of Illinois! And remember, if you find that you’re having issues with these pesky bugs or mice, give us a call at (630) 451-8101 for your fast FREE quote today! Happy adventuring!!!