Preparing for Flea and Tick Season
When the weather warms up, pet owners and their pups begin to spend more time outdoors for much-needed sunshine, exercise, and bonding time. After multiple cold months inside both owner and pet are more than eager to spend time outside, but that comes with a built-in increase in exposure to harmful parasites. Most notably, the danger goes up when dogs are exposed to fleas and ticks.
Humans know to inspect themselves when coming indoors after being outside in the warmer months, as we recognize that ticks have an anesthetic in their bite, and if not checked for, are easy to overlook due to lack of feeling that there is a need to be looking at all. Dogs are even more susceptible as they are not only not capable of a thorough enough self-inspection, they also have no good way to properly remove ticks. If a tick is yanked off, and its head stays behind, so does the aspect of the tick that makes it harmful. For owners, ticks on a dog are also easy to miss due to the amount of fur covering most animals. Fleas are even smaller, and harder to detect, so it's crucial to inspect the dog regularly. However, this could be a trying task, and it's best to take measures to lessen their tick and flea exposure overall.
To prepare for flea and tick season, typically the best offense is a good defense. Thinking about where dogs go for walks and maintenance of areas in their regularly frequented areas is a good way to lessen the pets’ exposure to them. Fortunately, there are several relatively easy methods to accomplish this.
Be Selective With Walk Locations
When the weather warms up ticks and fleas tend to take up residence in tall grass, weeds, and trees. As most dog walks pass by any combination of these, it is important to remember that ticks and fleas can jump in from any direction. When taking walks, it is, therefore, advantageous to select a path where trees and bushes are trimmed or cut back, creating more distance. This makes it less likely that pests from there will jump in to get to you or your dog.
If the dog roams around the backyard, it is wise to keep the lawn and bushes manicured accordingly. The shorter the grass the less likely ticks are to reside in it, and the safer your dog is from them jumping on.
Clean Dog Houses And Kennels Regularly
Dogs who spend a lot of time in their dog houses or outdoor kennels need to have those residences cleaned regularly as well. Speaking to your vet can give you some ideas about insecticide agents to use that will not harm your dog but will eliminate the great majority of fleas and ticks that are very likely to breed in these places if left unattended.
Distance Bird Feeders And Bird Baths
People set up birdhouses, feeders, and baths to welcome birds to their area, but birds travel from far and wide and they bring unwelcome passengers along. The ticks that come along for the ride often hop off on the grass around the birdfeeders, especially when the ground is damp or wet. If the bird feeder is too close to your home, that puts the ticks in the near proximity as well. If your dog frequents that area, there is a better than average chance of those ticks being able to find their way on the dog’s skin. Birdbaths are even more prone to these invaders as the splashing caused by the birds who land in there causes the grass to get wetter, promoting breeding grounds for ticks. It is therefore important to distance any of the bird-invitational peripherals away from the home.
Keep Dog Away From Gardens
Aside from the fact that you do not want your flowers of vegetables trampled, keeping your dog clear of any garden you may have with fencing is a good idea as well. Gardens require moist soil, and the moisture attracts pests that will be more than happy to hitch a ride on an animal that comes by.
Seal Trash As Tightly As Possible
Because animals from the wild carry ticks and fleas on their bodies and are very attracted to scents of food, it is always a good idea to assure that all areas with trash as kept neat, tightly sealed or shut, and secured enough so that animals cannot get into them. The smell from the trash that is not well sealed attracts more animals, which in turn leads to more ticks arriving and staying in the area.
Spray For Tick Elimination
Spraying properties for ticks is a good idea, but there are some cautions. The more effective tick repellents use chemicals that, while effective, are also harmful to pets. There are organic options too, which are less harmful, but they are also effective for shorter time periods and cost more to perform.
If spraying for ticks, it is important to do so early enough that the weather has not warmed up too much, but the snow and persistent rains of the spring have passed. If the spraying happens too close to heavy rainfall, a lot of the effectiveness gets washed away. Of course, once the sprayings occur, it is important to keep your pet away from the area to keep them from getting sick.
A flea infestation can be lessened by spraying nematodes solution. It is a good choice because it is both effective and not toxic to your pets.
Check Yourself And Your Pet Regularly
With the above method, both humans and pets can enjoy the nice, warm weather while mitigating their chances of bringing any unwanted creatures into the household. Of course, there is no way to avoid it entirely, so it's important to remember to always thoroughly inspect ourselves and our pets after walks to assure that nothing has been brought into the house.