Pet owners may not be aware that like people, pets are prone to tick diseases that can affect their long-term health. While we rarely hear tick news in winter, more tick headlines will appear in spring and summer - prime seasons for tick activity.
March is typically the start of tick season as the temperatures rise above freezing. Spring is when pet owners must pay extra close attention to their pets - witnessing signs of changes in mood, behavior and eating habits.
In spring, ticks will make their way out of the woodwork and search grasses to find a warm-blooded mammal as their food source. Ticks will latch on to pets as they play outside in the fenced-in yard and hide underneath tails, collars, ears and in-between toes. Without grooming from pet owners, the tick can live on the pet for an unknown amount of time; and if carrying diseases, puts the companion animal at risk of a tick disease.
Lyme Disease is just one tick-borne infection that dogs can obtain from a tick bite. In addition to Lyme, dogs are put at risk of:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (mostly from American Dog Ticks)
Since white-tailed deer are the number one carriers of ticks in the United States, homeowners should consider installing pet fencing to reduce the amount of wildlife they find on properties. In addition, pet owners will need to be proactive in grooming pets to identify ticks and know how to remove a tick from the skin, if necessary.
Remember to take pets to the vet after tick discovery to make sure dogs are healthy.