Tick, Tick, Tick...Time for TicksDepending on what part of the world you live in, ticks can occur all year around. For most of us however, late spring means that the tick-free winter is over and it is time to start taking precautions.
As someone who has had Lyme disease I believe it is important for people to take preventive measures to protect themselves and their families from exposure to these blood-sucking parasites. The symptoms of this disease are many and varied, but all are distressful. Fortunately, diagnosis has become easier and remedy is sure.
For our pets however, this is not always true. Like heartworms, sometimes the effects of the disease can go unnoticed until grave physical harm has occurred. They aren't able to tell us that they are feeling a little off their game. Consequently, when the disease is discovered in the later stages, recovery is not always sure. For that reason, extra and early protection is important for our pets.
There are numerous things that you can do to make your pet "undesirable" to ticks (and fleas). Professional dips are best, but if cost is a concern, you can buy over the counter dips that you can apply yourself. There are time-release salves, pills, sprays and powders. All are non-toxic and relatively inexpensive, but afford different levels of protection. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to ensure that the products will not be harmful to your pet. This is especially important with cats, because they are generally more sensitive to chemicals than dogs.
Since experts say it takes more than 24 hours for a tick to infect an animal with Lyme disease, the best prevention would be a daily inspection regimen to locate and remove any parasitical predators. There are several methods recommended for safe removal of ticks. Search the internet and chose the one right for you. By the way, there are other lesser diseases that ticks can cause, some of which do not take as long to manifest, but Lyme is perhaps the most threatening and the focus of this writing. It is suggested you read about the others at your leisure.
Don't let your efforts end with fortifying your pets coat. Next, focus on your yard or the area you walk your animals in. Keeping your yard closely trimmed and pruned will go a long way to making the unwanted critters feel uncomfortable. You need to beat back the varmints and chase them off into the woods where they belong. Then, you need to stay out of the area you chased them to, at least until cold weather forces them underground again.
There are as many products available to treat your yard as there are to treat your animal. Most are adequate to give protection to the average yard, but if you have property with heavy underbrush, you might consider having someone do the job professionally.
Treatments for ticks will usually also defend against fleas and other parasites that attack our pets. Whichever product or method you chose to use, it would be again wise to call your veterinarian and ask him/her if it is appropriate for your area. Usually your vet will be happy to give you a few minutes of their time for something like this. Once more, be especially cautious if you have cats that you let out into your yard. Cats are often more sensitive to chemicals. Check it out first. Be sure. A tick bite might do less damage than the wrong chemical.
The important thing to remember when you are applying chemical defense to your yard is that ticks are also arboreal. Their modus operandi is to climb out on the ends of branches of small bushes, the bark of trees or fence posts and wave their barbed legs out into the air waiting for some poor unsuspecting animal to walk by.
When contact is made, they immediately release their grip on whatever they are holding on to and hitch a ride on the passerby. Then they work their way to a place of their liking and began their dastardly work. So spray low, and then spray high as well. One final word of caution…while the spray is designed to not harm pets, be careful not to spray bird or squirrel feeders as it could prove toxic to them.
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About The Author: The author is a retired Coast Guard Officer with over 32 years of service. He is also a Baptist Preacher and Bible Teacher. He helps those grieving the loss of a pet to understand the Biblical evidence that proves they live on. His most popular book, "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" delivers hope and comfort to the reader in a very gentle, yet convincing way. Visit at http://www.coldnosesbook.com for more information and tips.