Warmer weather is well on the way and for most of us that means a number of things – pool sessions, flip flops, and spending every minute outside. While it is mostly sunshine and rainbows this time of year, there is a downside that pet owners need to be wary of. Ticks love this season and tend to make their debut. If we aren’t careful, they can be harmful to our pets, and this year the tick transmitted illness, Lyme disease, may be heightened depending on where you live. In order to keep your pets safe it is important to understand the risks and identify ways to prevent this disease.
What is Lyme Disease
First and foremost, what exactly is Lyme disease? Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is passed on through the bite of an infected deer tick. In order for an animal to contract this disease the tick must be attached to the host for about 48 hours. There are various signs to watch for if your dog has been bitten by a tick. This includes fever, lethargy, shifting-leg lameness, and loss of appetite.
Sure you may think you live in an area where these pests don’t reside, but take a heed of caution, no geographic area is safe from ticks. Lyme disease has been recognized in all 50 states.
Ways to Prevent Lyme Disease
Apply a Spot-On Tick Treatment
There are many monthly spot-on treatments that you can use to prevent and control ticks from getting to your pet. VetGuard Plus uses a triple-action formula to protect your pet from ticks. Simply apply the solution once a month, and rest assure knowing your pet is protected. It is best to find and use a solution that not only treats adult ticks but kill the larva and nymph as well.
Use a Long Term Solution
If you live in an area where there is little reprieve from the warmer months, a long-term solution might be what your pup needs. A collar can provide months of protection making it a convenient alternate for some pet owners who have to worry about pests all year long.
Clear Out the Outside Area
Ticks tend to roam in wooded and tall grassy areas. Although it might be difficult, try to avoid letting your dog play in those areas to reduce their exposure to ticks. If you have areas outside that tend to garner brush and tall grass, mowing and trimming are recommended.
Once you have cleaned and trimmed the outside area, use a bug spray around the house and in any areas of concern to reduce and kill the ticks present. This will help protect outdoor surfaces and keep ticks away over an extended period of time.
Scan Your Pets Coat and Skin Regularly
Scan your pet’s coat and skin regularly to be sure there are no ticks present. This is especially important to do if you know your dog has gone in a heavy brush area where ticks tend to settle. If you and your pup do a lot of hiking or camping, again, checking their skin is necessary. Ticks tend to attach close to the head, neck or stomach. Check these areas first, and then examine the stomach, back, paws, between the toes, and tail.
What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has Lyme Disease
If you suspect your dog has been exposed to Lyme disease, talk to your vet to learn the best way to help your pup. Your vet will perform blood tests to rule out diseases transmitted by ticks.
We want our pets to be safe and healthy all year long. Don’t wait! Take the right steps to protect your pets from ticks.