As you may have already heard, entomologists are predicting a spike in Lyme disease this year in the northeast. A mild winter has caused an increase in oak tree acorn production, which has resulted in more white-footed mice because acorns are their primary food source. White-footed mice can have 50+ ticks on them at one time and are immune to the Lyme bacterium. This means that there are more ticks attaching themselves to these mice, falling off, and continuing to carry the Lyme bacterium. You should not only be concerned about you and your family but your pets as well, especially if you own a dog. It is more likely that you will find a tick on your dog than on yourself, making them more susceptible to catching Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis or Tick Paralysis. These are some of the ways that you can help protect your dog from ticks and their potential dangers this season.
1.) Avoid Areas that Ticks Like:
Before you and your dog go on your next hike, make sure that you consider where you are going first. Ticks tend to enjoy wooded areas, overgrown vegetation, and higher grass. These areas allow them to easily attach themselves to dogs by climbing to the tops of vegetation and latching themselves onto the dog’s fur as they pass by. If you are going to go on a hike in the woods, make sure that there is a distinguished trail and try to keep your dog on it as best as you can.
2.) Tick-Proof Your Yard:
Avoid creating environments in your yard that ticks can thrive in. Some of the ways that you can do this are by:
- Keeping your grass short and trimmed.
- Raking up decaying leaves off the ground.
- Avoid planting vegetation that attracts deer, as they are a very popular feeding source for ticks and can bring ticks into your yard.
- Secure your trash bins well so other rodents that ticks tend to feed on do not come on to your property.
Although there is no guarantee that ticks will not find a way onto your property, taking these precautions will greatly reduce the chances.
Tick checks are not only good for yourself but also your dog. If you do go for a hike in the woods or bring your dog into what we described as areas that ticks like, then it is important that you check your dog for any potential critters latching onto them. The reason being is that not only are ticks hard to see because they burrow under the fur and attach to the skin, but the symptoms that are associated with the diseases they carry can be hard to notice until it is too late. The most common areas that you will find them feeding are:
- Under the armpits and hind legs
- Under their collar
- In between their toes
- On their belly
4.) Preventative Products:
If you continue to have a problem with ticks biting your dog, you may want to look into products that make ticks view your dog as an unattractive feeding source. The most popular products used to prevent ticks from getting to your dog are tick collars, topical medications, and tick sprays. There are also vaccines that can be used to help prevent ticks. In any case, be sure that you talk to your veterinarian before using any of these products to ensure that it is safe for your dog.
If you are concerned about your yard being susceptible to tick activity, we offer a pet and child friendly tick & mosquito reduction service. To find out more about this service, give us a call or visit our mosquito and tick reduction page.