The Importance of Tick Prevention
In Florida, we’re no strangers to year-long exposure to bugs. Ticks are one such year-long critter that can cause much more trouble than simple irritation. The Orlando area has been known to have several types of ticks, all of which can carry serious diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, to name a few. These diseases are not only a threat to your furry companion; they’re a threat to your human family, too. Our animal hospital has come up with several tips and advice about tick protection and prevention.
Protecting Your Pet
To prevent ticks from biting your pet at all, there are several precautions you can take. These include:
- Staying up to date with your pet’s parasite preventative. Most tick control products also combat other parasites, too. We recommend Bravecto and Nexgard for cats and dogs. Being consistent with these medications is a game changer when it comes to your pet’s protection from ticks.
- Ask your veterinarian about the Lyme vaccine for your dog. This is especially important if your dog is frequently outdoors in wooded areas.
- Always check your pet for ticks when they come indoors from being outside in a tick-infested area. Ticks are more likely to transmit disease if they’ve been feeding for a while, so the sooner you get them off your pet, the less likely it is that they’ve contracted a disease.
- Always spray on insect repellant on open skin when hiking in tick-infested areas. There are also pet-safe repellants as well. Although, it’s better if all your skin is covered with clothing.
- Wear light-colored clothing so you can see ticks more easily.
- Clear out any tick-friendly areas in your yard. Leaf litter, tall grass, and brush should be removed. Additionally, you can create a tick barrier with wood chips or gravel between your lawn and wooded areas. This limits tick migration into your yard, making your pet and family safer.
Safe Tick Removal
Removing ticks as soon as you see them attached can prevent your pet from contracting a tick-borne illness. Yet it’s important to remove them safely because a tick that breaks apart or is squished (gross, we know) between tweezers can also infect your pet with any disease the tick carries. To safely remove a tick, follow these steps:
- Use tweezers (the finer the point the better) to firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Firmly pull it straight out with steady, gentle pressure.
- Wash your hands and thoroughly clean the bite wound with rubbing alcohol. Don’t forget to disinfect the tweezers, too!
If your pet is bitten by a tick and begins to develop symptoms of illness, please bring them to us right away. At our 24/7 animal hospital, we’ll be able to assist you any time, day or night.