The minimal amount of time it takes for an attached tick to transmit disease is not known. The time it takes to transmit diseases is affected by the type of disease organism, the species of tick, etc. However, in general, if a tick is removed within 16 hours, the risk of disease transmission is considered to be very low. Therefore, owners can usually prevent disease transmission to their pets by following a regular schedule to look for and remove ticks.
Outdoor Environmental Control
Treating the yard and outdoor kennel area with acaricides (tick pesticides) is an important tool in the arsenal against ticks. There are products that can be used to spray the outdoor area. However, you should not rely on spraying to reduce your risk of infection. If you have health concerns about applying acaricides, check with local health or agricultural officials about the best time to apply acaricides in your area, identify rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential properties, and consider using a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home.
You can also create a tick-safe zone in your yard by using some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:
Indoor Environmental Control
If ticks are indoors, flea and tick foggers, sprays, or powders can be used. Inside, ticks typically crawl (they don't jump) up and may be in cracks around windows and doors. A one-foot barrier of insecticide, where the carpeting and wall meet, can help with tick control.
Prevent Ticks from Attaching
How To Remove A Tick With Tweezers
Risk of disease transmission to you, while removing ticks, is low but you should wear gloves if you wish to be perfectly safe. Do not apply hot matches, petroleum jelly, turpentine, nail polish, or just rubbing alcohol alone (the tick must be pulled out after application of alcohol) because these methods do not remove the ticks and they are not safe for your pet.
Watch for Infection and Diseases
After you pull a tick off, there will be a local area of inflammation that could look red, crusty, or scabby. The tick’s attachment causes irritation. The site can get infected; if the pet is scratching at it, it is more apt to get infected. A mild topical antibiotic, such as over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment, can help but usually is not necessary. The inflammation should go down within a week. If it stays crusty and inflamed longer than a week, it might have become infected.
Ticks can transmit diseases to pets and humans that the ticks contracted from a previous host.
Although ticks can transmit diseases, ticks are usually nothing more than a nuisance. The best approach is to prevent them from embedding, and once embedded, to remove them quickly. As long as you stay on top of the situation, your pets should cruise right through the tick season with no problems.
Date Published: 05/29/2006
Date Reviewed/Revised: 03/19/2018
Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM
Each New Year we’re inundated with lists of things to do, buy, and become. We read these lists, make promises to ourselves, and then promptly forget it ever happened by February. This year I’m taking the opposite approach: Here are the things you definitely don’t want to do, purchase or aspire to be more like. It’s time for my New Year’s Don’ts for your pets.
1. Don’t buy junk food treats.
You know what I’m talking about. Those tiny calorie grenades are killing your pet. This year, feed fresh crunchy veggies or treats with simple ingredients such as sweet potatoes.
2. Don't ignore pet food labels.
If you can’t comprehend what’s in your pet’s food, imagine how your pet must feel. The most important decision you make for your pets each day is what you feed. Choose wisely. Their health depends on it.
3. Don’t make excuses to skip walks.
You both need to walk more. Buy a coat, umbrella or even a pair of galoshes, but don’t miss your daily walks. You’ll both live longer and be healthier because of it.
[Watch What Happens When These Dogs Hear the Word “Walk”]
4. Don’t avoid the animal shelter.
Go visit your local animal shelter so you can see for yourself what’s working and what needs to be fixed. I hear too many complaints about animal shelters from pet parents who’ve never set foot in one. How can we make something better when we don’t know what’s wrong? I know it’s painful and you want to take all the animals home with you, but you’ve got to do it. If you’re truly concerned about the state of stray animals in your hometown, go visit, talk to shelter employees and decide how you can help.
[5 Ways to Help Your Local Shelter]
5. Don’t put off your pet’s exam.
I know money’s tight but that little lump, cough or limp may be the start of something more serious. Often I’m left with simply too little time to help an ill patient. If I had a quarter for every case I could’ve saved had I only seen it six months earlier, I’d be retired by now, or at least have an enormous jar of quarters.
Add to this, don’t go to the vet only when your pet is sick. My mission as a veterinarian is to preserve health and prevent illness. Going to the vet or physician should be an opportunity to learn how to stay healthier longer. You should leave each appointment with advice on how to improve your or your pet’s life. If not, ask for it. If you don’t get it, find it elsewhere. Life is for living, not recovering. Learn how to help you pet live an optimal life by working closely with your veterinarian on a regular basis.
[My pet's perfectly healthy! Why should I see my veterinarian?]
6. Don’t forget your dog or cat’s heartworm preventive.
Heartworm disease is fatal to dogs and cats. There is no treatment for cats and the medication used to treat dogs is costly, takes months to work, and carries potential health risks. Think your indoor cat isn’t at risk? Not according to research. Never gamble with your dog or cat’s heartworm protection. The stakes are too high and often end in death or serious damage.
[What You Need To Know About Heartworm Disease]
7. Don’t ignore that pesky behavior.
Little behavior problems turn into big troubles, quickly. If your dog is barking at passing cars, lunging on the leash, or jumping up on guests, talk to your vet (that’s our job). If you intervene with behavior problems early, you can often correct them easily. Wait until your dog is biting the delivery man, and it may take a while.
8. Don’t forget to hug your pet each day.
And be thankful for all you have this year. Take time each day to reflect on one thing you have, that you’re grateful for. We are so fortunate to share our days with such wonderful, caring creatures.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of PetHealthNetwork.com, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.
Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM
Ernie has more than 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a well-known veterinarian, media personality and author. He is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team. Read more >
Graham Bilbrough, MA, VetMB, CertVA, MRCVS
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
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