Warmer months and longer days mean its flea and tick season. This can put pet parents on high alert and for good reason. The potential for contracting Lyme disease and other parasitic illnesses is at its peak during summer. It is always a good idea to revisit the topic during this time of year.
- Stay consistent with year-round flea and tick preventative, oral or topical, it is your best chance for protecting your pets. Some products can last up to 12 weeks per dose.
- Maintain your lawn and clear away high grass and overgrowth
- Use a pet-friendly insecticide on your lawn to keep fleas and ticks at bay. Read the label carefully for proper application method and wait time.
- Check your pet as soon as you are indoors. Use a flashlight for pets with darker coats and glide your hand against the hair growth for a thorough exam.
Remember, fleas and ticks are, above all, parasites and tend to gravitate towards the warmest areas of the body. Be sure to check these areas of your pet(s) when looking them over.
- Behind the Ears
- Top of the head
- Underarm areas
- Sanitary region
If you spot a tick below you’ll find the proper way to safely remove it from your pet.
How to remove a tick
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Avoid folklore remedies such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible–not waiting for it to detach.
Lyme Disease Prevention
In addition, to year-round topical or oral treatment, the Lyme vaccine could give your pet an added layer of protection. If you live in a wooded area or frequent the outdoors (camping, hiking, etc.) consult your veterinarian about vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease. According to, PetMD,“Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in dogs, is transmitted by slow-feeding, hard-shelled deer ticks.
Infection typically occurs after the Borrelia-carrying tick has been attached to the dog for at least 2-3 days. Lyme disease can cause lameness, kidney and joint problems, stiffness, and increased fatigue. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a comprehensive guide on Lyme Disease for pet owners.
The Facts About Fleas
We all know the signs, a pet who is scratching and biting themselves more than usual sends out a red alert. Flea infestations are every pet parent’s worst nightmare. Once in your home, it can take months to be rid of them. “Once the flea becomes an adult, it spends virtually all of its time on your pet. Female fleas begin laying eggs within 24 hours of selecting your pet as a host, producing up to 50 eggs each day. These eggs fall from your pet onto the floor or furniture, including your pet’s bed, or onto any other indoor or outdoor area where your pet happens to go.” AVMA.org
Here are few things you can do if you spot fleas on your pet or in your home.
- Visit your vet for an emergency dose of oral flea preventative. It kills all fleas and eggs on your pet and lasts for 24 hours.
- Bathe your pet(s) and use a flea comb to catch any that may remain on their coat. Once they are dry administer a year-round preventative if needed.
- Wash all pet areas, vacuum furniture, upholstery, and floors…especially if you have carpet.
- Fumigate your home immediately or contact a professional pest control company.
- Be patient, the lifecycle of a flea can be 12 days to 6 months. It may take some time to be free of them.