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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Top Ten Tips for Tackling Ticks (say that 3 X fast!)

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photo courtesy of N.I.H., copyright A.D.A.M.

I'm hearing from all you dog lovers out there that ticks are a particularly troublesome problem this year. Unlike fleas, these gnarly little creatures cannot be as effectively annihilated with a hit of Capstar (Eek!) or other product for an infestation.

I hear your cry. Since my recent camping experience, we have found that more than a few of these little boarders came home with us. I've asked our staff vet, organic lawn care professionals, natural pest control professionals and the info gods at Google, and learned that there is no definitive, all-encompassing way to slam these parasites. Everyone seems to have a different take on the best practices.

Weeding through the options and propaganda, here's my top ten picks for you to try, if you find they're pestering your Rover too. For those of you who prefer an all-natural approach, you can read the post at the link for more ideas.

1. Avoid walking your dog through treed areas, if possible. Consider that Rover may be the key word--roving or walking under treed areas. Avoiding tick infested areas such as the woods for hiking (my bad!) is your first line of defense against these critters.

2. Groom immediately after walking through treed areas, using your fingers, seeking the ticks, while giving affection. Continue this practice daily until your pet is tick-free for about a month. Begin again anytime you walk in treed areas. 

3. Keep your dog on a tick prevention product, following instructions correctly.

4. Treat your yard regularly, especially if you have trees or find a problem with ticks on your dog.

5. If you get a problem, treat your house, also.

6. Vacuum carpet, bedding and furniture frequently until all problems abate. Also, wash pet bedding in hot water regularly.

7. Bathing makes finding ticks easier, if your dog has thick or dark fur. This can be an easier way to find and remove them.

8. Removal should be done by extraction, pulling the tick away from the pet's skin in a perpendicular motion. Remember to check between the toes also, and use tweezers for removal in these tougher areas to access.

9. Live ticks must be crushed with a blunt instrument, to assure death; these suckers have tough exteriors. If you're squeamish about crushing them, you can drop them into a small amount of alcohol, which will have the same effect.

10. If you have other pets in the home, treat them also.

Finally, if you do experience a tick infestation, seek your veterinarian's advice on any further treatment, vaccines, or tests that your pet may need. Dr. Jacki will be glad to see you, if you experience this problem. She may be found at 4PawsHouseCalls, where you will find her phone number and other helpful information.

Comments? Questions? Ideas or thoughts? Please toss me a bone: The COMMENT link is just below the post.

Sources: Dr. Jacki Bert, Drs. Foster and Smith, Bug Brigade Pest Control

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spotts said...

Good advise. I own chickens and they are great at finding and eating ticks.

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