Summertime means more outdoor fun with your furry friend. Together you can soak up the sun, enjoy the longer days and bask in the warm weather. However, more time outdoors has some risks for your four-legged friends. From 4th of July fireworks to loud thunderstorms, summertime does have some pet safety issues to be aware of – including ticks!
Ticks can latch onto your dog or cat’s fur, especially after enjoying time in wooded outdoor areas. Just like humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to Lyme disease. If you have an outdoor cat, or you’re returning from spending time near wooded or tall grass areas outdoors with your dog, you should always be sure to perform a regular check to make sure no ticks made their way onto your pet's coat. According to the ASCPA, “Ticks are often the size of a pinhead before they bite, going unnoticed until they swell with blood.”
Check your pet for ticks by running your fingers over their fur, checking for small bumps or lumps, paying special attention to the areas around their face, chine, tail and even between their toes. Remember that ticks prefer warm, dark areas to hide in.
If you do find a tick on your cat or dog, it’s recommended by the Humane Society of the United States to take the following steps to properly remove the tick using tweezers:
1. Grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible without pinching their skin.
2. Pull out in a steady motion. Be sure not to twist the tick, as this could leave the mouth-parts still embedded into your pet. Anything left behind could also lead to an infection.
Once the tick is removed from your cat or dog, wash your hands thoroughly, then clean your pet’s wound with an antiseptic. Then, you can clean your tweezers with ispropyl alcohol, keeping it sanitized.
Learn more about protecting your pet all summer long here. Mosquito Squad of Greater St. Louis cares about pet safety, and we hope you enjoy a safe and sunny summer with your pets!