The Growing Problem with Ticks
Ticks and the incidences of the diseases they transmit have been on the upswing for the past few years. To counter the rising dangers they present, it’s essential that our pets are given the tick protection they deserve.
Tick Protection for Pets
Dogs are the most common hosts for ticks. Cats, with their meticulous grooming habits and sensitive skin, often rid themselves of ticks before they have a chance to attach. Dogs, however, are not quite so keen. They need our help to stay safe, especially during hikes in wooded areas, where ticks are bound to be more prevalent. Steps you can take to ensure tick protection for your dog include:
- Tick prevention medication. From oral chews to topicals, there are a variety of tick control products out there. These medications can prevent ticks from biting your pet, or simply kill them off after taking a bite.
- Rid your yard of tick-friendly environments. A pile of leaves, brush, tall grass or lawn debris (cut grass, a collection of sticks and twigs, wood piles and more) are all excellent places for ticks to lie in wait.
- Use tick repellant or pesticides in your yard to bolster your defenses. Just be sure to read the label and apply as directed for the safety of your pet and your family.
- Ask your veterinarian about the Lyme vaccine for your dog. It can prevent your pet from developing symptoms of Lyme disease, even if they have been bitten by an infected tick.
- Remove a tick as soon as you see it. How, you ask? Read on!
How to Remove Ticks
The first thing you can do is: Don’t panic! Ticks feeding on your pet can be an ugly sight but remain calm so your pet remains calm, too. Next, follow these steps:
- Get some tweezers — the finer the point, the better!
- Part your pet’s fur and place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible around the tick.
- Pull straight up in a gentle, steady manner to keep the tick from splitting and leaving its mouth parts (yes, they’re called “mouth parts”; ticks don’t have “heads,” per se) still inside your pet.
- Wash your hands and clean the bite sight thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and don’t forget to disinfect the tweezers, too.
- Contact your veterinarian and inform them of the tick. Depending on how long the tick was feeding on your pet, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment to test your pet for tickborne illnesses.
If you have any other questions about ticks, tick protection for your pet, or tickborne illnesses, please contact us at (217) 428-7709 for more information.