Summer Tick Awareness

My top 3 tips to keep your pet safe

Carolyn M. Thorne, DVM

We’re in the thick of tick season right now, and many pet owners wonder what they can do to keep their pets safe.

I’m definitely a stickler about tick prevention for the entire family—pets and people included! 

I’ve had Lyme Disease and it’s something I have learned a lot about since contracting it from an attached deer tick.   That’s why as a veterinarian, I actively discuss tick prevention for cats and dogs with my clients.

Here are my three top tips for keeping your pets safe:

Tick Tip #1: Year-round protection for your pet is a must!  You can come into contact with ticks at any time of the year.   Here in New England, although we can have harsh winters, deer ticks can remain active whenever the temperature is above freezing.  

Tick Tip #2: Bring a leash and stick to the trail.  Especially during the summer, we love to bring our dogs with us to explore the many trails offered throughout our beautiful region.  Many local hiking destinations, however, have tick warnings.  Keep your dog on a leash and stick to the center of the trail – your dog will naturally want to explore the leaf litter, low hanging branches, and other off-trail areas ticks love, too. 

Tick Tip #3: Check, check, and triple check for ticks.  Even when they only go out in your yard, cats and dogs can pick up ticks.  Ticks may live where your yard borders a wooded area, in an ornamental garden among the plants, and in shady areas where there are leaves with high humidity.  Making a habit of checking your pet for ticks after they’ve been outside is a good way to get them off your pet as quickly as possible.

Preventing ticks from getting on your pet is the first step to preventing the chance that you or your pets will contract a tick-borne illness.  The good news is there are a variety of tick prevention options for your dog and cat on the market today.  

Make an appointment to talk with me about your pet’s health and options keeping your furry friend safe from ticks this summer!   If you or your child are bitten by a tick, please see these helpful tips/resources at Westwood Mansfield Pediatrics' website.