Ticks live in grass, leaves, brush and bushes. Ticks crawl onto your pet as he or she walks past. We often find ticks attached pet's head and neck since your pet is sticking his or her head and sniffing areas where ticks like to live. Ticks attach to your pet and drink blood. If the tick drinking your pet's blood is infected with a disease, it can pass this disease on to your pet. Ticks can give your pet diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Tick Paralysis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme Disease. The female tick will feed for days until she is fat and swollen. The female tick is the easiest tick to find on your pet. The male ticks do not feed as long and are therefore smaller and harder to see. Other immature stages are also small and are harder to see on your pet. The smallest stage that can attach to your pet is called a nymph and can be as small as the head of a pin. A good way to find ticks is to rub your pet's head, neck and legs a few times a day. Also look at both sides of your pet's ear flaps.
What do you do when you find a tick on your pet? Get a bottle of alcohol, a cotton ball and a pair of tweezers, and some of your pet's treats, and someone to help. Pour some alcohol onto the cotton ball. Have the friend hold your pet and give him or her some treats. Put the cotton ball onto the tick for at least 10 seconds, then remove the cotton ball. (This helps stun the tick and loosen its grip). With the tweezers, gently grasp the tick as close to your pet's skin as you can and GENTLY pull. Do NOT twist or jerk. (Removing it slowly helps reduce the chance of the mouth parts being left behind in the skin). If the tick gets squished and starts to bleed, try not to get any of the blood on you or your pet. Wash your hands and any place the blood got on your pet.
How can you prevent ticks from giving your pet a disease? Use a flea and tick preventative such as Frontline Plus or Revolution. These products are applied to your pet once a month. These products do not repel ticks. No product spot on product (like Frontline, Revolution, Advantage, etc) will repel ticks. The products will kill the tick when it attaches to your pet. The tick dies before it can give your pet a disease. You can also make a spray to help repel ticks. Mix 1 tablespoon of Avon Skin So Soft in 1 pint of water in a spritzer bottle. Spray on your pet before he or she goes outside.
What can you do to help keep ticks out of your yard? One way to help keep ticks out of your yard is to make it unfriendly to ticks. Ticks like dark and humid areas. So keep your lawn mowed and and remove bushes. Remove any sticks, leaves or other yard waste. Plant grass that requires less watering in the summer. Create a "tick free zone" around your yard. The zone should be covered in mulch and be at least 3 yards wide. Do not have any plants, except trees in this zone. This should reduce the tick population in your yard by at least 75%. Another way to keep ticks out of your yard is to keep other animals out of your yard. Ticks will feed on any warm blooded animal (squirrels, birds, deer, cats, dogs, etc). By keeping these animals out of your yard, you will keep ticks out of your yard.
* Image of a tick from www.capcvet.org