Fleas, Ticks, and Bugs…OH MY! PART 2

Ticks.  Just the word alone makes me think of old B-Rated horror films that portray these nasty blood suckers.  And with good reason.  Just the thought of something as disgusting as a bug, resembling a spider, attached to your skin, sucking your blood like a vampire can give even the bravest of people the heebie-jeebies.

Tick
Tick – Close up

Ticks, like fleas (Covered in Part 1), are resilient and crafty.  They live in the deep woods, suburbia and urban neighborhoods.  Besides being miniature Dracula’s, ticks can carry very serious and debilitating diseases – the most common is Lyme’s Disease.   A fantastic resource regarding ticks and how they affect your pooch is on the amazing website Dogs and Ticks

If you don’t have the time or the subject makes you all-together queasy, I’ll cover the basics and avoid the gore!

TicksThe Facts About Ticks

  • The disease a tick carries is the most serious part of a tick bite, not the actual bite.
  • If you or your pet get a disease from a tick, it is not transmitted back and forth.  The disease comes only from getting bit.
  • Ticks do not jump on you like fleas, they instead crawl on you from the ground and/or bushes.
  • Ticks do not need to feed on blood for 3 years

Ticks Be Gone!  I wish it was as easy as waving a magic wand and chanting these words over your beloved pet, but it’s not.  Yet, it is not hopeless.  Here’s what you can do…

Start with a flea and tick preventative that you purchase at your vet’s office, online or local pet box store.  Check with your vet first to see which products they recommend.  Depending on where you live, your pet’s outdoor activities and lifestyle; a vet can come up with the best solution for your needs based off of known diseases ticks carry in your region.

Treat Your Yard –  There are multitudes of products on the market from full assault chemicals to natural remedies.  Go with your comfort level and call an expert when in doubt.

Put a Castle Moat around your yard.  Well, not exactly!  I don’t expect you to dig a ditch to keep out the bugs!  But a quick defense is to create a 2-3 foot buffer between your yard and any woods that your property sits next to.  Using such landscaping items as mulch, stones, gravel and wood chips make it challenging for the tiny bugs to navigate through, thus preventing an army of blood thirsty villains roaming your lawn.

Regular appointments at the groomers can add a second level of eyes on your fur babies skin.  Groomers have the tools, resources, and knowledge to scope out ticks and remove them, if necessary.

How to remove a tick?  When I was a kid, I had a tick attach itself to the back of my neck.  My mom got the tweezers and pulled the sucker out.  The problem was, she left the head and mouth piece.  We had to go to the doctors and they had to cut the rest out for the fear that it would lead to an infection or some disease.  This is not an attempt to blast my poor, loving mom over the internet (sorry mom!) but to instead, warn you as to the proper way to handle a tick removal.Tick

There are multiple ways to do this:

  1. Tweezers – get as close to the skin as possible without pinching your pooch and pull straight out.
  2. Rub your finger over the tick quickly in a circular motion for about 30 seconds and the tick will detach itself (See this video for a demonstration).
  3. Vaseline – put a thick glob of Vaseline over the tick to suffocate it.  The tick will detach itself in order to breathe.  However, this could take up to 2 days and if the tick is a carrier, it may give it time to infect your pet.
  4. Go to the vet

As with fleas, no tick preventative will stop ticks from crawling on your four-legged family member but once it bites, it will then die based on the tick remedy being in your pet’s bloodstream.  The slightly good news is that, although ticks can lay anywhere from 2,000-18,000 eggs (GASP!), they do so on the ground and not on your furry bedmate.  (PHEW!)

Hope your days are filled with a million canine kisses (and no scratching)!

Tara

 

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