7 Common Myths About Ticks

5. Cats get rid of ticks when they groom themselves.

We bet you've heard this myth, too. Although there is some truth to this one, trust us: Cats usually do not remove all ticks through grooming. What if a tick has attached to a part of the skin that your cat can't reach to groom, like the face or ears? Your cat could still become infected with a tick-transmitted disease. And when a cat is heavily infested with these parasites, the ticks can drink enough blood to cause anemia (inadequate number of red blood cells). Ticks can also transmit a disease called cytauxzoonosis, which can result in serious illness or even death.

6. Only pets can get the diseases that ticks transmit.

Uh oh! This is a big one. Protecting your dog or cat from ticks can actually protect your whole family (humans included) from the dangerous diseases these parasites can spread. Although you won't contract Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever from your dog, the tick that Fido brings home can just as easily bite humans and transmit those diseases directly. So don't take chances — with your pet's health or with your own.

7. My pets need protection from ticks only in the summer.

You want your cat or dog to be healthy always, so why wouldn't you protect her from ticks year-round? It's a common misconception that the risk of ticks disappears with the first frost, but that's simply not true. Even if it's cold outside, your house is still heated to 69 or 70 degrees, isn't it? Plus, various species of ticks have life stages — egg, larvae, nymph and adult — that can develop throughout the whole year.

OK, now that we've done our myth busting and sorted through all the things that aren't true and that you're not supposed to do, here's what you are supposed to do: Talk with your veterinarian about which tick-control product is right for your pet. Stay on schedule with applying it and consistently check your cat or dog for ticks. Your pet depends on you to keep her safe from these pesky parasites — and, really, after everything our pets do for us, it's the least we can do for them.


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