Well, since the official start of summer is just around the corner, I thought I would complain about, I mean mention, how bad the bugs are going to be this summer. Remember that season that we usually call winter? Since it was so mild, we didn’t have any chance to at least knock down the bug population. I think most humans have already noticed the plethora of mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. All of the parasite experts and predicting a particularly bad year for parasites. As far as the mosquitoes and fleas go, the solution is pretty easy. Be sure to give your pet’s heartworm medicine every month. In addition, use a monthly flea preventive.
Many flea preventives also function as tick preventives. Some examples of this are Frontline Plus, Certifect and Advantix. Comfortis and Trifexis, while not technically licensed for ticks, have been taking care of ticks really well for most dogs. I’m not sure that any of these products are going to work by themselves this summer. If you are already using one tick medication on your dog and you still see ticks, we recommend adding a Preventic collar. One of those collars costs about $20 and lasts for 3 months.
Most people are pretty grossed out/freaked out by ticks. I think that it helps (at least a little) to know that it takes 24-72 hours for ticks to transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. And also, we really do not have a lot of Lyme disease in Memphis, so don’t stress too much about it.
And that brings us to the next part: what to do if you or your pet has a tick on you. First, don’t panic. Basically, all you need to do is pull the tick off. There are a lot of stories out there about twisting counter clockwise, burning ticks off, etc. I get lots of worried owners saying that they might have left the tick’s mouthparts in. Don’t worry. The mouthparts might cause a red bump, but it will go away. Very worst case scenario (it hardly ever happens), they might need some antibiotics.
If you want a cool do-dad to remove a tick, check out www.tickkey.com. You keep it on your keychain and it allows you to remove ticks without touching them. Even better, it comes in cool colors. They sell them at Outdoors, Inc.
So, if you want the take home message: keep your pets on heartworm, flea and tick preventives this summer. If you find a tick, pull it off. And have a great weekend!