Ticks just have to be one of the worst things about the summer. Especially if you are an unsuspicious pet that does not know how to look after itself. Unlike their distant cousins, fleas, that are mostly annoying, ticks can cause your pet health issues like joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and even pass on some serious diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Suffice to say, they should not be taken lightly.
So let’s take a look at some of the moves you can do to protect your dogs from ticks and allow them to spend a pleasant and carefree summer.
Do regular checks
One of the oldest but still most efficient ways of fighting ticks is simply by giving your dog regular, daily checks. Although such a frequency may seem a bit overly zealous, some ticks need to be attached to the pet just 24 hours in order to start transmitting pathogens that cause issues like Lyme disease. So, thoroughness is highly advised. The places you should pay attention the most are:
- The area between the toes
- Inside the ears
- Around the ear folds
- Under the chin
- Neck area
- Groin and armpits
If you want to cover larger skin areas, you can simply give your dog gentle scratch throughout the entire body. If you discover a latching tick, part the dog’s hair in that area, place the tweezers around the tick and gently pull it upwards without twisting or jerking. The bitten area should then be disinfected with alcohol, soap or iodine.
Restrict access to tick-infested areas
Ticks are predominantly fed by the blood of the animals so they can usually be found in wooded and grassy areas visited by animals and children. They make their “job” of latching on the host easier by climbing up the grass blades and bushes.
Do your best then to prevent your dog from running off into unfamiliar and unkempt public areas. Also, remember that ticks thrive in damp environments. If you need to let your dog roam free for a while do that in hot, dry weather while the ticks are less active. As for your own backyard where the dog spends most of its time – keep it as tidy as possible. If you’re lacking the proper equipment, pay a visit to the nearest Briggs and Stratton shop and buy replacement parts for your old lawnmower. There’s no excuse for poor landscaping.
Groom the pet
Grooming your dog on a daily basis carries a lot of useful benefits. For a start, it allows you to spend some quality time with your pet and give your pet a couple of stress-free, pleasant hours a week. Then there are the numerous health benefits and of course, a neat and tidy look. But did you know that ticks are far less attracted to clean pets? Well, they are.
So, as one of the first steps in tick prevention, buy a natural peppermint or neem shampoo, add two cups of apple vinegar to the bathing water and give your pet a good washing. Also, make sure that the pet’s bedding is regularly cleaned as well.
Protect your pet with tick repellent
This is one of the more obvious moves. So, without further ado, the popular brands that have proved to be most efficient at repelling ticks are K9 Advantix II, Frontline, and Vet’s Best. Still, if you are not too keen on using synthetic products on your pet, you can make an efficient and natural tick repellent in your home. You’ll just need one cup of water, two cups of distilled white vinegar (ticks and fleas hate vinegar) and about 20 drops of your favorite bath oil. Mix them, pour them into a sprayer and you’re ready to go.
Try using tick collars
Another popular tick prevention method comes in the form of anti-tick dog collars. Now, these collars may be infused with a healthy dose of insecticide that’s later released on your dog’s skin and fur, but they are perfectly safe for animals as long as you abide by some basic rules.
First, do your best to cut off any excess length of the collar to prevent your dog from chewing it. Two fingers between the neck and the collar should provide more than enough freedom. Second, these collars usually take a couple of days to start showing results, so be patient. Finally, be sure to carefully read all the labels and instructions. Different products may require different handling.
We hope these five tips will help you keep your best friend safe this summer. But remember – the ticks may be the most active in this period, but they are lurking for fresh meals throughout the entire years. So, don’t forget what you’ve learned once the days become shorter and give your pets all the attention and care they deserve.