Summer Pet Safety: Tick Prevention
Summer is a fun time for exploring and planning outdoor activities with our four-legged friends. Hikes in the woods, walks on the beach, and playing in dog parks are always lots of fun. Unfortunately, for humans and pets alike, spending most of the summer days outside can have a frustrating downside: tick bites.
Ticks often hang onto blades of grass waiting for something that they can grab onto, which makes dogs especially appealing for these insects. Take note that “tick season” is actually year round, but summer months do tend to show an "uptick" in bites due to many of us enjoying the outdoors.
To protect your pet this summer—and of course all year—we’ve gathered a few safety tips that we’d like to share.
Ticks can pop up just about anywhere, but they are usually found in tall grasses and brush. If possible, mow and rake your yard on a regular basis to create a safer environment for your pet.
Of course, we highly recommend using preventative tick and flea treatments year round. Fortunately, there are several effective products you can use! If you expect your pet to be exposed to ticks, speak with a member of our veterinary staff to find safe, effective products suitable to your pet’s needs. Use these products as recommended!
Always keep an eye out for any ticks that are hiding on your pet’s body. Right after you finish a hike or walk, pull your dog aside and do a full “nose to toes” check. The most important areas to check are the insides of ears, between the toes, on the paws, in arm creases, on stomachs, under tails, and under collars. Run your hands along your pet’s body, feeling for any unusual bumps and looking for dark spots. Ticks can be brown, black, or tan, and can come in a variety of sizes. Don’t let your pooch into your car or house until you’ve checked every possible spot! It’s vital to check them as soon as possible. Infections and diseases can spread within 24-48 hours.
If you do catch a tick on your pet’s body, don’t fuss! Try to keep a pair of tweezers on hand whenever you go for a long hike. Otherwise, store them in a spot that’s quick and easy to find. First, sterilize the location of the tick. Grab the tick with your tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Use pressure but don’t pull too hard because part of the tick can break off and stay in the skin. If your dog is showing fear of the tick removal process, it may be easier to have an extra person help calm them down.
After removing the tick from your pet, clean the wound with a pet-friendly antiseptic and clean the tweezers used with isopropyl alcohol. Do not crush the tick you removed, flush it down a toilet instead!
Let’s make tick prevention a priority for our pets this summer! Not only will they cause discomfort to your pet, but these insects can lead to serious diseases. Tickborne diseases increasingly threaten the health of people and pets in the U.S. Whether you're headed to the beach or enjoying a "staycation," remember to always be on the lookout for ticks. Have fun and be safe!