Tick populations are on the rise in Ontario and across Canada. With this increase comes the very real threat of tick-borne illnesses in both people and pets. While getting outside and enjoying summer is an important part of life, protecting yourself and your pet should be a priority at all times. Let the team at Summeridge Animal Clinic recommend some effective tick prevention strategies to keep you and your pet safe.
Tiny Bodies, Huge Dangers
Spread by the black-legged deer tick, Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness that affects people and pets in Canada. Rocky Mountain spotted fever and babesiosis are examples of other zoonotic diseases (can be transmitted between humans and animals) that are carried by ticks.
The Principles of Tick Prevention
Keeping your pet on a prescribed parasite preventive (preferably year-round) is the best way to protect your pet. We are happy to answer your questions and make recommendations.
Ticks hang out in shrubs and grasses, waiting for their next blood meal to pass by. Lower your chances of encountering a tick in the following ways:
- Keep your pet leashed at all times while walking or hiking. Stick to cleared pathways, and avoid grassy or heavily wooded areas.
- Make your property less hospitable to ticks by keeping it trimmed and weeded; remove any piles of leaves or debris.
- While outdoors, wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants to help you spot ticks more easily.
- Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to help remove ticks before they can attach.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pet daily for ticks (especially after being outdoors). Pay special attention to the hair/fur, behind the ears, underarms, waist, between the legs, and behind the knees.
- Wildlife can also harbor ticks. Do not allow your pet to investigate living or dead animals, and utilize fencing or other barriers to keep wildlife off your property.
Proper Tick Removal
If you spot a tick on yourself or your pet, proper removal is key:
- Using tweezers, grip the tick’s body where it’s closest to the skin and pull straight out.
- Be careful not to squeeze the tick, as this can trigger the release pathogens into the body.
- Dispose of the tick by drowning it in rubbing alcohol.
If you have yet to start your pet on a parasite preventive or if you need a refill, please don’t hesitate to contact us.