Springtime will arrive sometime soon and along with it the focus on tick prevention for pets and people. Ticks love the cool, moist temperatures of spring and fall. Ticks can transmit a number of bacteria which can cause diseases in dogs, cats, and people. Prevention of tick attachment is our first defense against avoiding these diseases. A combination of a good quality tick preventative for your pet and avoidance of areas where ticks are found can help prevent the diseases that ticks can spread.
Create a Tick-Safe Zone in Your Yard
Pet owners can help prevent tick exposure by taking a few simple steps in their yard. Ticks wait on tall grasses and yard debris to attach for feeding on a passing person or animal . Removing leaf litter helps eliminate a common hiding place for ticks. Trimming tall grasses and brush around the home reduces places for ticks to hide as well. Mow the lawn frequently to keep the grass short. Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from the edge of the yard and trees. Ticks can not travel well over gravel or wood chips. A three-foot wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between your yard and wooded areas can prevent ticks from moving into your yard on their own. Fences may help to discourage deer, wildlife, and other stray animals from coming into your yard.
Check Your Pet Daily for Ticks
Many of the bacteria that pets can get from ticks are not spread immediately after the tick attaches. Prompt removal can be a very important step in tick prevention. The longer a tick remains attached to your pet, the higher the risk that your pet can contract an infection such as Lyme Disease. Check your pet daily and after being outdoors for any ticks. Remove ticks right away. Tweezers may be the safest form of removal. If you don't have a set of tweezers or other tick removal device available, cover your fingers with a tissue or glove before removing the tick. Bacteria from the tick can gain access to your body through cuts or nicks on your hands. Check here for advice on tick removal.
Tick Prevention Products
Many good quality tick preventative products are available for pets. These products can be applied topically, worn as a collar, or given as an oral product. Consult our veterinarians about the best options for your pet. Some of the products you find at the pet store may not be as effective as they were in the past for tick prevention. Applying or administering these products at the appropriate time year-round is also very important. Pay close attention to the manufacturer's recommendations with regards to when the product needs to dosed again. Some are given again in thirty days while others may not be due again for twelve weeks or six to eight months. Many of the products are not as effective past their designated time of application.
Ticks carry bacteria that can cause illness in pets and people. Blocking tick attachment is a very important step in the prevention of tick-borne diseases for us and our furry friends.