Protecting Pets from Ticks
Protecting Pets from Ticks
By Dr. Jennifer Seco
As pet parents taking all available measures possible to protect our furbabies from the dangers associated with ticks is always a top priority. Of course, ticks are always a big concern; these 8 legged parasites are relatives to no other than the spider, and they would love to make your pet the source for their next meal. While these small critters do not fly or jump, they wait with their front legs extended for a chance to crawl their way onto their next feast, this is called "questing". Once a tick climbs onto your cat or dog they look for a part of your pet with thin skin, they will attach themselves by inserting their mouthparts firmly and they will begin to feed on your pet's blood. If a tick which has begun feeding goes undisturbed, feeding can last anywhere from 3 to 10 days, depending on species and the reaction from their host. Ticks can carry many diseases, some which can be very serious and even fatal if left untreated. By taking measures to protect your pet from ticks you are also protecting yourself and your family since tick-borne illnesses can also be transmitted to humans and ticks will not discriminate in making you their next meal.
So let's consider some steps we can take to help ensure our pets and our homes are tick-free. The first important thing to consider is a year-round tick prevention product, there are a wide variety of these products available in the market, so talk to your veterinarian on which one would be the best to suit your pet's needs. Note: Never use any dog tick products on cats these contain an ingredient that is highly toxic to felines.
Grooming your pet regularly can be another way to ensure your pet is free of these nasty parasites, making this a part of your pet's daily routine is a good way to bond with him and will allow you to check for any ticks.
It is important to keep your lawn trimmed, ticks thrive in overgrown grass and hedges, doing this, and exterminating your yard is another great prevention strategy to help keep your pet free from ticks.
Flea and tick shampoos and collars are another way you can prevent ticks from invading your beloved pet, they are inexpensive and quite effective. You will find there is a great variety to choose from.
If you have a dog and it's time to go for a walk, try staying on the sidewalk, this will reduce the chances of a tick crawling up his leg.
If you like essential oils, try diluting some in water or almond oil, ticks hate the smell of peppermint, lavender, or lemongrass, and you could also consider adding a few drops of one of these oils into your pet's shampoo
If you still happen to find a tick on your pet make sure to remove it immediately, do so by grabbing it by its head with a pair of tweezers and pulling firmly, clean and disinfect the area with the bite with alcohol, and keep an eye out for the next couple of weeks for any changes in your pet that may be of concern.
Keeping ticks away from your pet may require some effort and expense on your part, but these steps will be very effective in your fight against ticks, not only will these measures ensure your pet's safety and comfort, but they will bring you and your family great peace of mind as well!