If you’re a pet parent, then we’re sure you’ve heard about ticks. But other than knowing they’re “bad,” do you know what they are, the health risk they present, and what options you have for preventing them? If the answer is no, keep reading for our take on ticks.
Although ticks are commonly thought of as insects, they actually belong to a special group of mites. Ticks are external parasites which feed on nothing but blood and require a blood meal from a host to develop and to produce eggs.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, ticks are found in every state in the United States. And while you may think living in an urban environment means your pets are safe, that actually isn’t the case. Ticks live on the ground, whether that ground is a secluded forest or a bustling park in a big city. If your dog or cat goes outside, they’re at risk.
While ticks are more commonly associated with dogs, they can also attach themselves to outdoor cats, causing deadly diseases like tularemia, feline infectious anemia, and babesiosis.
Dogs that contract ticks risk developing anemia, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. As with cats, the diseases that dogs are susceptible to can also lead to death.
Ticks can also attach themselves to humans, similarly putting them at risk of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Unfortunately, these diseases can create serious problems for people, as well as dogs.
There are a daunting number of products available to prevent ticks, including topical medications, oral medications, sprays, powders, dips, and collars. These products rely on insect-controlling chemicals to prevent ticks, and naturally, some people grow concerned about the thought of exposing their pets and their family to pesticides.
However, natural alternatives do exist. For instance, feeding your dog garlic or cider vinegar is cited as a tick deterrent. Likewise, a lemon steeped overnight in hot water can be used to create a tick-repellent spray.
That said, garlic in large amounts can be dangerous for dogs so before you decide whether to use a chemical or a natural tick preventative, we strongly encourage you discuss your options with your veterinarian before settling on one method or the other.
By taking steps to prevent ticks in your pets, you’ll feel much more relaxed about letting your pets enjoy their time outside this summer.
And speaking of the outdoors, are you looking for more opportunities for your dog to play outside? If so, you might want to check out our Doggie Day Care or boarding services. During the course of your dog’s visit, he’ll have the opportunity to enjoy supervised small playgroup sessions with other healthy dogs. We also offer 5-star cat accommodations if you plan on going out of town for vacation.
Categories: Pet Safety