Yes, Spring season is tick season. And since ticks can carry diseases that effect people and pets, many pet owners get a bit nervous when their dogs and cats play outside for extended periods of time. But with a few precautionary measures, you can lessen the chances of your pet falling prey to these tiny unwanted guests!
How Are Ticks Transmitted to Dogs?
According to the ASPCA, ticks are most active from spring through fall and live in tall brush or grass, where they may attach to dogs playing on their turf. These parasites prefer to stay close to the head, neck, feet and ear areas. In severe infestations, however, they can be found anywhere on a dog's body.
How Are Ticks Transmitted to Cats?
Even if you have an indoors-only cat, ticks can be transferred from dogs coming in from the outdoors. As they do with dogs, ticks prefer to attach to cats close to the head, neck, ears and feet. However, they can be found anywhere on your cat's body.
Limiting Ticks Around Your Home
To limit ticks around your own property, DogsAndTicks.com recommends keeping your shrubs closely clipped, and cleaning up large amounts of leaves and debris. It's also a good idea to limit the shrubs and plants around play and leisure areas, such as your dog's walk or kennel, your children's swing set, and your outdoor dining area.
Other techniques (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that can help reduce tick populations include:
Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (to discourage rodents that ticks feed on).Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard. These are things that often give ticks a place to hide.
What To Do If You Discover A Tick On Your Pet
According to DogsAndTicks.com, 'removing embedded ticks is a delicate operation because it's easy for a piece of the tick to break off and remain in your pet's skin if done improperly.' They suggest bringing your dog or cat to a veterinarian who can demonstrate how it's done. Infection can occur after 24 hours, so if you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away. You'll also want to wear rubber gloves to protect yourself from possible infection.
Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick. Doing so can harm your pet and may cause an embedded tick to release more disease-carrying saliva.Grasp the tick very close to the skin with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers.With a steady motion, pull the tick's body away from the skin. Avoid crushing the tick to prevent infection.After removal, clean your pet's skin with soap and warm water and dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
Have you found any ticks on your dog or cat? Tell us about your experience in the comments section!