Ticks-How to Manage this Blood Sucker Parasite We All Loathe
Ticks are part of the Aracnida family - the same family that includes mites, spiders and scorpions-and are a part of spring and summer life here in the Inland Northwest. They can transmit very serious diseases to their host so it is important to have a management plan concerning tick treatment and prevention for your pet, especially if you live in a more rural area.
I would encourage all pet owners to visit the CDC website which includes detailed information on ticks how to remove them. They also illustrate different types of ticks and the diseases they transmit and local cases in our specific area; this really helps pet owners know what to be aware of each tick season.
Most people know that the Inland Northwest tick season usually begins in early spring. What they don’t often know is that it can last all summer long through late October. To keep your pet safe during the long tick season, there are three types of tick prevention: mechanical, natural and pesticides.
It takes only 48 hours for a tick to begin transmitting disease once it has dug in. Keep pets safe by doing frequent tick check and removing ticks early, once spotted.
Vacuuming your house weekly or more often is an excellent way manage ticks that have not yet attached and are loose in your house.
One of the best ways to treat ticks and fleas is with Diatomaceous Earth-a natural pest deterrent made from ground up diatoms. Diatoms are prehistoric crustaceans that have been fossilized. The fossils break into microscopic pieces with sharp edges. Though not sharp to us or our pets, when DE comes in contact with pests with exoskeletons it lacerates them, which in turn dehydrates the pest and it dies. DE is nontoxic and safe for humans and pets making it is an excellent prevention option for ticks. It can be sprinkled outside on plants, the lawn, on pet bedding and carpets and upholstery.
· You should only buy food grade DE
· I recommend wearing a bandana or mask to apply
· Do not sprinkle on the coat of a pet though, as it is drying to their skin and coat
· If you have a heavy honey bee population in your flower garden, I would avoid sprinkling there – we do not want to harm honey bees.
Essential oils, that have had the phenols removed, work well for natural pest prevention for your pets. We use some of these products in our salon such as shampoo and coat spray.
Spraying your pets coat with an essential oil mix before for regular exposure maintenance or before prolonged periods of time outdoors would greatly help to prevent pests from attaching to your pet. Shampooing will kill existing attached ticks for easy removal.
Many of the oils in pest prevention that work well have high phenols that can also be harmful or deadly to the pet which is why they need a special distillation process. I would not recommend using your own stash of essential oils on your pet, even if they are mixed with a carrier oil. Dosage is important with essential oils and it would be easy to accidently harm you pet.
There are quite a few options to consider when deciding to use pesticides for tick management. To determine the best product to use it is important to evaluate your pet’s lifestyle and the region in which you live. The three main types of products are tick collars, topical treatments and oral chewable.
Collars work by repelling or killing. Some collars do both. Make sure you know which kind by reading the labels. I would not recommend using a tick collar for a primarily indoor dog or one who is around small children.
Topical treatments are applied on the back of the dog between the shoulders once a month. The medication is absorbed into the pet’s oil and sweat glands and begins to repel with 24 hours but there are quite a few different types so ask your veterinarian first. Once it is dry bathing or water exposure is fine.
There are two main oral treatments for ticks. Both are fairly new to the market but are very effective at tick control. They are prescription only. One brand is given once a month and the other once every 12 weeks. They are a small meat flavored chewable most dogs find palatable. As with all treatments it is important to know any possible warnings or side effects before using.
Tick management is best addressed early, so that prevention can be the goal. There are many more details and methods not covered here and I would encourage everyone to do their due diligence to find the best solution for your family and pet.