With the prolonged winter of 2018, it might not seem like you will ever see the grass again. If history is any indication, a winter that extends into April often means an unseasonably hot summer. This can lead to an increase in the amount of ticks in your yard and other outdoor spaces, although these parasites can survive year-round. As a midwestern state, Minnesota has more ticks than many other states.
The most likely places for a tick to attach itself to your dog or cat’s body is on her head, neck, ears, and feet. However, you may find them at any spot on your pet’s body. Ticks are most active in the warmer weather and typically live in tall brush, trees, and grass. That makes it easy for them to transfer to your dog or cat’s fur. Unfortunately, even indoor pets aren’t immune from tick bites since this parasite could get into the house from another pet or when attached to a person.
If a tick gets in your pet’s ear canal, he may shake his head frequently to attempt to dislodge it. Other possible indications include a fever, feeling a small bump on your dog or cat’s body, and scabs that you can’t explain any other way. It’s often difficult to spot on tick on your pet until it becomes fully engorged with his blood. By this time, the tick might have transmitted anemia, tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or Lyme disease.
We at Chaska Valley Veterinary Clinic encourage you to complete a tick check with your pet every day. Start at the top of her head and run your fingers to the tip of her tail. Be sure to check her ears, feet, and underbelly at the same time.
If you feel or see a tick, find a pair of tweezers and clamp it around the tick’s head. After ensuring you have a tight grip, remove the tick with one quick pull. If you twist while pulling, the tick’s body could break and part of it could remain lodged in your pet. Place the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it. If you’re concerned the tick could have spread a disease, place it in a jar with the date and bring it to us when you bring your pet in for an evaluation.
Preventing Tick Bites
We encourage you to keep your lawn cut short and to remove all organic debris like rake clippings and leaves. This can cut down on the number of ticks in your yard. When you take your dog to a wooded area, make sure he remains by your side the entire time. Don’t allow him off-leash to investigate anything, especially trees and leaf piles.