Ticks – No one likes them, especially not your pets! But, it’s that time of year again when we really have to start watching out for these clingy little critters. Now that the temperatures have risen, our pets are spending more time outdoors playing, relaxing in the sunshine, or going on long walks. Sure, all of that fresh air and exercise is great for your pet (and you), but you do have to be aware of those outdoor risks, like ticks, that can bite your pet and make them sick.
Ticks are cunning, and they manage to hide in the hardest of places to find. That’s why you should check your pet after every single outing. Whether you go for a walk, a hike, head to the beach, or just chill in the backyard, make it a habit to check all over their bodies each time they come back indoors. The good news is that if you take a few precautions before you and your pet head outside, you can help keep these nasty pests away. Here’s the best way to look for and combat ticks:
How to Look for Ticks on Your Pet
As you check your pet for ticks, you’re going to want to feel for lumps and bumps, and look for areas that appear irritated. Ticks are very small, so look and feel carefully. A deer ticks is only about the size of a sesame seed! Other species are no bigger than a grain of sand. And again, you should make a habit of doing this every time your dog or cat goes outdoors for walks or playtime, even if they’re already on a preventative.
Ticks are drawn to areas that are dark and moist on the body. So, you’ll want to check your pet:
- Under the collar
- Under the tail
- Inside the groin area
- Between the toes
- Under the front legs
- Around the elbows
- On your pet’s eyelids
How to Keep Ticks at Bay
While not always possible, one of the best ways to deal with ticks is to simply avoid them in the first place. If you take your pet for a walk, consider a clear route free of brush rather than going into the woods during prime season. If your pet plays in your yard, be sure to keep the grass, trees and bushes trimmed, and clear away any brush where ticks might like to hide.
You should also consider talking to your veterinarian about available preventive products for your pet. They can recommend a proper course of action suited to your pet’s age, species (never use a product labeled for a dog on a cat, and vice versa) and your geographic region. Preventive products can help kill ticks, but don’t start using one on your pet until you’ve consulted with your veterinarian. If you do choose to use one, be sure to follow the directions exactly.