None of us like the thought of creepy crawlies on our pets, but it is the warm part of the year where they are around in higher numbers. So Stay Alert!
Ticks are a particularly unpleasant thought for us all, as they can bite humans as well as pets, and we all know they can transmit diseases such as Lyme’s disease to humans or pets alike. We are in prime tick season so it’s really important that you check your pets regularly for ticks, especially if they have been out in forest or long grass areas, as ticks are more common here. Some pets seem more prone to picking them up than others, so you’ll probably know if your pet is one of these! Cats and horses can get them as commonly as dogs if you live in certain areas, so be sure to check them over too.
Our collie (pictured) has a long coat and loves to race around in long grass so she can be prone to picking up ticks. We check her over every day & she is very compliant as you can see! We make it a lovely cuddle/stroke/rub down, and have taken to referring to it as ‘Tick or Nipple’ – you’d be surprised how often you’re sure you’ve found a tick, only to find another nipple 😉
Ticks should ideally be removed within 12-24hrs of biting to minimise the risk of potential disease transmission. A specific tick remover is best, as you’re much more likely to remove the tick fully & safely – you can get these from your local vet if you don’t have one. You should never smother or burn ticks, as any form of distress can encourage them to regurgitate their stomach contents into your pet, making disease transmission more common.
If your pet picks them up continuously, you live in a high risk area, your pet is not amenable to being checked over for whatever reason, or you are not able to easily check them over then you should consider a tick repellant. You can get ultrasonic flea & tick repellant attachments for collars, which clients have reported great results with, although you must remember not to let them get very wet as they stop working. Other natural repellants can be used, but they give variable results, and there are no studies as to their effectiveness. Be careful with any products that use essential oils, as some of these are dangerous to use in pets, especially cats as they are very sensitive to volatile oils in herbal products.
The other option is to use a short term spot on or collar, just for the high risk season, especially if you live in a high risk for Lyme’s disease area. However, you should always ensure that your pet is not allowed in any surface water for at least 3-4 days after the spot on is applied, or to swim at all when wearing the collar. Not only will allowing this decrease the effectiveness of the product, but more importantly it can lead to contamination of the environment with the insecticides in the product.
There is increasing evidence that the use of preventative insecticides in our pets is polluting our environment and adding to the decline in insect numbers affecting our countryside. The chemicals in spot-ons are normally not insect specific and so if they get into the ground or water, they can kill a lot of insects they encounter, including bees – our essential pollinators. There is a place for these treatments, but they should be used with care if we want to protect our environment, and so the future for our pets and ourselves.
Protect Your Pet. Protect Our Planet.