Ways to Tick Off Ticks
These days, ticks are showing up in growing numbers and in a widening geographic area and they can survive and thrive in your warm house even when it's cold outside. They love to feast on the blood of pets and in so doing can spread illnesses such as Lyme disease and, less frequently, Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Although Lyme disease has usually been associated with the tiny deer tick, recent evidence shows that the larger, common tick may carry the disease as well. It makes sense to treat all these pests as enemies. (Even those that don't carry disease are pretty disgusting.)
Here are some ways to make those ticks take a tumble:
Preventative Measures: a simple monthly preventative topical treatment like Advantage or K9 Advantix will repel and kill ticks on your pet. When used year-round, these products are excellent tools for keeping pets pest-free.
Check Mate: during tick season, check your pet every day for ticks. Run your fingers through your furry friend's coat, checking for any little bumps. If she has long hair, comb it; your comb may catch a creature or two. Examine all around her ears -- inside and underneath. Check the area where her front legs join her body, as well as skin folds, under her back legs and anywhere else a tick might be able to burrow.
Watch for Hitchhikers: during the season, perform a tick inspection anytime your pet returns from being outdoors. Experts once advised people to cut their lawns so that ticks couldn't hide in tall grass, but even manicured estates aren't safe anymore. Ticks seem to be everywhere. So if your pet has been outside, assume that he may have given a tick a ride home.
Stay Out of Dangerous Neighborhoods: ticks especially like wet areas such as marshes, swamps and reservoirs, so it's smart to avoid those spots -- or at least to check especially carefully for the pests after returning from a jaunt to such a location.
Don't Let Them Move In: although ticks don't breed in your home the way fleas do, they enter your house clinging to pets, clothes, patio furniture -- anything you bring in from outdoors. You need to check your home regularly for ticks. Pay special attention to the laundry hamper, carpets, upholstered furniture, even bedding. And, of course, check the areas that your pet frequents.
Tick Them Off: to remove a tick from your pet, dab a little rubbing alcohol on the tick with a cotton ball or swab. Wait two to three minutes. Then, with tweezers or a tissue, grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can without pinching your pet and gently pull the tick out. Don't flush the tick down the toilet. It won't necessarily drown and may even climb back out. Instead, drop the pest in a glass jar with a tablespoon or so of rubbing alcohol, then close the jar tight. That will kill the tick.
Get Yourself Some Extra Pull: if you just can't bear to get near a tick, don't try to detach it from your pet by burning it with a lit match or lighter! You'll only succeed in burning your pet and probably yourself as well. Instead, buy a tick remover and keep it on hand. Tick removers come in several versions. One type, made of metal, is about the length of a nail clipper and has a slit in the end designed to grasp the tick while you pull. It's a good, safe tool to have on hand.