As the sun peeks through the clouds more often and the weather warms up, you know spring is on the way – and so is flea and tick season. Ticks are a concern for humans and canines alike. But, unlike humans, dogs can’t take preventive measures against ticks or do much for themselves if they have them. That’s where you come in! Help your pup out and protect them as tick season rolls in. Here’s how to prepare your dog for tick season:
How to Keep Your Dog Tick-Free
These are a few general strategies and preventive measures to help keep ticks off of your dog during tick season.
1. Tick Control Treatment
A topical or oral treatment for flea and tick control can go a long way towards preventing these pests from latching on to your pup. If you don’t apply it or give it year-round, start doing so in the months leading up to warmer weather.
By starting this preventive measure before tick season arrives, you ensure your dog is protected when it starts, instead of leaving them vulnerable to tick bites while you wait for it to take effect.
2. Preventive Landscaping
Ticks can be brought into your yard by wild animals, other dogs, and even other people. If there are things like food and water bowls outside, this can attract potential pest-carriers to your yard. If your yard has long grass or other foliage, ticks brought in by these carriers will have plenty of places to hide and flourish. Maintaining and repairing the fence around your yard can keep some of these potential tick carriers out. Preventive landscaping can also help protect your dog from fleas.
You can also cut down on this potential by regularly mowing your grass and removing any objects on your property that would attract wild animals. For example, bring bowls inside when your dog is not outside, ensure any outdoor trash cans have secure lids, and clear out any debris you have laying around from spring cleaning. Also, ticks hate garlic. So, if you like gardening, you can plant garlic around your property to ward off ticks long-term.
It’s also important to keep up with piles of leaves around your property as fall rolls in. You may let your dog play in leaves, but you should plan to check them thoroughly for ticks, fleas, and other pests afterward because they love to hide there. So, during the fall, you’ll want to pick up on preventive landscaping again.
You will still want to use some sort of tick control treatment to protect your pup, but these measures can cut down on their potential for exposure to ticks in the first place.
3. Regular Grooming
Keeping your dog properly groomed during the warmer months can also help prevent issues with ticks. Longer hair gives ticks more places to hide and can make it more difficult for topical treatments or tick sprays to reach the skin where they are most effective.
By keeping your dog properly groomed, you help keep them cooler during warm weather, make it easier to spot ticks when you’re checking your pup for them, and ensure easier bathing to further prevent pests from latching on.
4. Protect Yourself on Hikes
If you and your pup enjoy hiking in the woods and don’t want to stay out of the woods during warmer months, you will want to take some extra measures to protect yourself. Wear long clothing and use repellents to keep ticks away from you and prevent the potential transfer from you to your dog. In addition to the monthly tick control treatment you’re using on your pup, you can also put a tick collar on your dog and use a tick spray to help keep the pests away during romps in wooded areas.
You can also prevent the chance of a tick latching on by walking in the center of hiking trails, instead of through the brush or grass where ticks are likely to be. Once you get home, check yourself and your pup for ticks and then throw your clothes into the dryer. Tumbling clothes in a dryer for 10 minutes on high heat, longer if the clothes are damp, can kill ticks. You can also take a shower and give your dog a bath to wash off anything that might be crawling on either of you.
5. Check for Ticks Frequently
Even with all the previous measures in place, it’s still possible for creepy crawlies like ticks to end up on you or dog. Make sure you’re checking yourself and your dog for ticks frequently. There are several good places to check for ticks on your dog that should be part of your regular checks.
A quick overview every time you come in from being outdoors is a good start. Thoroughly checking each time is even better, especially if you’ve been in unfamiliar areas, in or near long grass or wooded areas, or have met other animals while you were outside.
4 Essentials to Have on Hand
1. Supply of Tick Control Treatment
During tick season, you want to ensure you have a steady supply of whichever tick control treatment you have decided to use. If it’s topical or oral, it’s usually administered on a monthly basis, so you want to make sure you have it on hand and aren’t skipping any applications.
2. Tick Collar
It’s also a good idea to pair these treatments with a tick collar. This will help repel ticks away from your pup and help to prevent bites. A tick collar paired with other methods is particularly useful if the tick season ends up being a bad one.
3. Tick Spray
Tick spray can be used sparingly for an added protective barrier when your dog is outside. Tick sprays are usually safe for use on puppies that are at least 12 weeks or older. A light spray over the legs, stomach, and tail should be sufficient.
4. Tick Shampoo
Tick shampoo is another good essential to have on hand, just in case. If you see ticks on your dog or are concerned they may have some after a romp outside, a bath with tick shampoo will take of it.
With these strategies in place and essentials in your corner, you and your pup can navigate tick season safely.