Ticks, who survive on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, easily spread disease through this feeding process. As the weather heats up, the chances of you or a pet encountering a tick increase. Learn how to stop ticks and some helpful ways to avoid being bit by a tick.
Stop Tick Access
Tuck your pants into your socks and stay toward the center of paths when you’re out in nature, avoiding tall grass and leafy areas where ticks may hide out. Wear light-colored clothing to help make it easier to spot a tick. Wash and dry your clothes at a high temperature when you get home from an area that is likely to have ticks.
Use preventative methods to keep ticks away from your dog or your outdoor cat. You can try using:
- Tick collars: A tick collar is worn daily by your cat or dog, and transmits a chemical into their skin that kills ticks. Collars are helpful mainly at warding off ticks at the neck and head of a pet, but some won’t have much of an impact on ticks that latch onto a pet’s belly, legs, or rump.
- Shampoo: If your pet handles baths reasonably well, a tick shampoo can be a good option after a walk in a potentially tick-infested area. Shampoos have a tick-killing poison within them that will detach and kill the tick.
- Spot-on treatment: Tick spot-on ointments are put on your pet’s shoulder blades, and work to keep ticks away from one to a few months.
As with any preventative or treatment option, check with your vet before use to see what’s most appropriate for your pet. Also, be very careful not to apply medication intended for cats to dog or vice versa, since some treatment options are not interchangeable.
Check for Ticks
After you’ve been outside, check yourself and your pet for ticks. With pets, check thoroughly throughout, but particularly focus on looking for ticks on their paws or the back of their neck.
At Your Home
Even if your pets only go outside in your own yard, there could still be risks for ticks. You can reduce the chances of ticks making your backyard a home by keeping the grass well-trimmed, and avoid piles of leaves or grass clippings, which are handy homes for ticks. Any location that would be a comfy home for a rodent -- like a pile of wood or unsecured garbage area -- should also be avoided, since rodents can be tick-carriers.
Finally, if these preventative tactics do not do the job, and you do find a tick on yourself or your pet, make sure to remove it promptly using tweezers, and to ensure that you have removed the entire tick (and haven’t left part of its mouthparts within your own, or your pet’s, skin).
More on Fleas and Ticks
All About Deer Ticks
Understanding Fleas and Ticks
Can People Get Fleas?
What if My Dog Eats a Flea or a Tick?
Get Rid of Fleas in 8 Steps Infographic.