PROTECT YOUR FAMILY PETS FROM TICKS AND FLEAS IN THE YARD
Rose Pest Solutions offers simple ways pet owners can keep their animals safe from pests
I keep seeing articles in the news about ticks being really bad this year. It makes me worry for all my friends with dogs and cats that romp around outside in yards. (I have a kitty, but he stays inside :3) So, I thought I’d do some research and put some info out for everyone on these lawn-loving, pet-chomping pests.
What are ticks?
American dog tick, NPMA
Ticks are arachnids, just like spiders. They have eight legs, they’re very hardy animals that survive through the winter and take advantage of passing mammal meals while hiding out in grass, shrubs, or other low vegetation.
What does a tick look like?
There are several ticks that are native to our midwestern geographical region. Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to keep an eye out when you bring your dog or cat back into the house when they’re done doing their business outside. Here are a few common ticks:
American Dog Tick
- prefers domestic dogs as hosts
- attracted to scent of animals
- common along roads, trails, backyards
- prefer grassy, low vegetation areas
- do not survive well indoors
Brown Dog Tick
Stages of brown dog tick, NPMA
- named for its color
- most commonly found on domestic dogs between toes or attached to ears
- will bite humans in absence of canine host
- do not travel very far after dropping off host
- survive very well indoors, preferring warm, dry conditions
Blacklegged (deer) ticks
Deer ticks to scale, NPMA
- feed primarily on white-tailed deer
- nymphs (baby ticks) feed on mice, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, dogs, humans and birds
- prefer grass and shrubs while waiting for a passing host
- main vector for Lyme Disease
Ticks can spread bacteria to pets and cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord. This condition can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
“Ticks transmit serious illnesses with a host of dangerous and unpleasant symptoms such as fever, headache, rash and fatigue,” says Dr. Jorge Parada, infectious disease specialist and NPMA’s medical spokesperson. “Because ticks typically require hours of feeding before they can successfully transmit infections, prompt and proper tick removal is a crucial step in decreasing the threat of catching a tick-borne illness.”
Would YOU know what to do if you found a tick buried in your dog’s skin? Do you know how to properly remove a tick?
How to remove a tick
If you find a tick on your body or that of a family member or pet, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick as this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. Avoid squashing the tick because spreading tick blood in the bite wound might increase the risk of infection. Once the tick is removed, clean the area with soap and water. If you develop a rash, headaches, pains or fever, call your doctor immediately.
What are fleas?
Fleas are more than just an itchy annoyance. Their saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms in pets. Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body (including you and me…ICK!)
Cat flea, NPMA
The cat flea is the most common species of flea. They feast on cats, dogs, humans, rodents, skunks, raccoons, and other mammals. Their food source is how they get around. Sure, they’re insane jumpers (did you know they can jump as high as 8″ straight up off the ground?! That’s 150x their own height! That would be like you or me leaping over skyscrapers for comparison!), but while they’re going to town on Fido, they’re catching a free ride to other possible food sources in your home, too.
How to protect your pets from ticks and fleas in the yard
“In addition to the health threats posed by fleas and ticks, both pests are small in size and extremely mobile, making them difficult to detect and get rid of once inside the home,” said Steve Ishii, Rose Pest Solutions Northfield Branch Manager. “It’s extremely important for pet owners to be cautious of these pests and contact a licensed pest professional if they suspect an infestation.”
The National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, offers these tips to keep pets pest-free:
- Check pets’ coats thoroughly for ticks and fleas on a regular basis, especially after spending time outdoors. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of encountering ticks.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture regularly.
- Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
- Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments.