The summer months provide plenty of warm weather for pets to spend time outdoors. While exercise and fresh air are great for pets, there is a danger that pet owners should be aware of. Ticks become more of an issue it’s warm out. These small pests can spread disease to pets, so it’s important to know more about treating and preventing ticks this season.
Dangers of Ticks
Ticks are insect pests that feed on blood from both people and pets. When they feed on your pets, they can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis. These tick-borne diseases can lead to mild symptoms in the acute stage followed by more severe, chronic symptoms without prompt treatment. For example, Lyme disease can cause a fever and joint pain in the early stages. Without prompt care, Lyme disease can lead to kidney disease, which is potentially life-threatening.
Tick Treatment for Pets
Since ticks can spread serious diseases, it’s important to reduce this risk to your pets. When you’re outside, especially in wooded areas or areas with long grass, check your pets frequently for ticks. These pests can jump onto pets and latch onto them while they’re walking or playing outside. Keep in mind that ticks can be hard to spot on pets with dark fur or thicker coats. When looking for ticks, make sure you check between your pet’s toes and in other hidden or hard to reach areas.
If you find ticks on your pets, use tweezers to safely remove them without crushing them. Make sure you grab the tick by the head rather than the body. This helps ensure that it’s unable to keep feeding. You might want to place ticks in a container to bring to your vet if your pets need to be checked for infection. Otherwise, you can dip ticks in rubbing alcohol in order to kill them. If your pets show any signs of illness after being bitten by ticks, such as fever or lethargy, bring them to the vet as soon as possible for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Tick Prevention for Pets
Tick prevention can help keep your pets safe from tick-borne diseases this summer and all year long. You can talk to your vet about tick prevention products for dogs and cats, such as topical treatments, oral medications, tick collars and shampoos. Although some of these products are available over the counter, it’s best to get recommendations from your vet to ensure safety and proper use. You can also take steps to protect your pets from ticks, such as bathing with vinegar or lemon wash or using essential oils, such as lavender or rosemary. However, always talk to your vet before using any home or natural remedies to make sure they’re safe for dogs and cats. Keeping your lawn mowed, trimming trees and bushes and removing weeds can also discourage ticks from infesting your yard and putting your pets at risk of disease.