We are officially in “tick season” and from what I hear, it is worse than ever!  Whether you are walking in your neighborhood or on a hike, your pet is at risk of getting bitten by a tick.  The longer a tick stays embedded in your pet’s body, the higher chance that the tick will spread a disease.  Make sure that you do a thorough “tick check” every time you come home from a hike or walk.  Ticks can carry very serious diseases such as Lyme, Babesia, Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more!

Prevent Tick Bites

Prevention is a great way to protect your pet from getting a tick bite in the first place.  Because ticks can be very difficult to kill and repel, many experts recommend that you use double prevention during tick season.  A great way to protect your dog is to use a tick collar that repels the ticks in addition to using a topical that repels and kills the tick (if they get through the repellent.)  The double protection really helps prevent the ticks from attaching to your dog. For other pets, like cats, you must make sure that the tick prevention is safe.  Not all tick prevention is safe for cats; make sure your read labels and talk to your veterinarian.

Where Ticks Can Be Lurking

Woodlands, woodland/field/lawn borders, stone walls, wood piles, scrubby grasses, under leaves and ground cover plants. If you take your pet into any of these areas where ticks are commonly found, it is important that you also protect yourself.  Ticks may jump onto you while you are on a walk or hike but your pets may also bring ticks into the house from your yard.  I know of people who have found ticks on their beds, couches and on the carpet after a pet was outside.  Be aware, check your pets often, and remove a tick as soon as possible.

What To Do If You or Your Pet Gets a Tick Bite

When removing a tick, it is best to use tweezers or a tick remover and try to pull it out gradually.  Avoid trying to burn them out or put oil on them; if you make the tick “angry” when removing it, the tick may actually express more disease from its mouth as you try to remove it. This can lead to an increased chance of it transferring a disease.

Mark it on your calendar if you or your pet is bitten by a tick, so you can remember the day of the bite. If either you or your pet begins to experience fatigue, muscle or joint pain, bull’s eye rash, fever, behavior changes, and/ or other unusual symptoms, report the bite to your doctor or the veterinarian. In addition, if you were able to pull the tick off, send it to a lab to test it for Lyme, Babesia, Erlichia and other tick related diseases.

We all want to be outside, especially after a year of quarantine; just be careful, cautious and aware of the ticks that are outside and can be active in temperatures as low as the 40’s.