4 min read

5 Ways to Prepare Your Pets for Tick Season This Spring

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Overview

Spring heralds the beginning of flea and tick season in many parts of the US. And while fleas and ticks are an inherent risk with any animal, this year may be especially bad, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council’s annual Pet Parasite Forecast. The 2022 forecast predicts vector-borne illnesses will be more prevalent this year than in previous years due to climate change and surges in parasite populations. 

Thankfully, there are some ways pet parents can protect their fur-babies from fleas, ticks, and the germs they carry. Read on for 5 simple ways to prepare your pets for tick season.

person applying topical flea and tick treatment to a golden curly haired dog

Start parasite prevention treatment ASAP

The best way to prepare your pets for flea and tick season is to put them on parasite preventatives, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the most common types of flea and tick products on the market:  

  • Medicated shampoos
  • Topical gels/drops
  • Chewable tablets (like Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix)
  • Medicated dips
  • Infused collars
  • Flea powders
  • Sprays   

It's best to start treatment before parasite season kicks off — or better yet, use preventatives year-round. Don't forget to stay on schedule, either. Some pet parents find it helpful to write down the dosage date on their calendars and set reminders so they don't miss a dose.

Unsure which parasite preventative is right for your fur-baby? Your vet can recommend a safe and effective product that suits your pet's individual needs.


Make your yard less accommodating for parasites

Often, treating your pet isn't enough to keep parasites at bay. You'll need to take preventative measures to keep your backyard free of them too.

Cut your grass regularly, and use a weed eater or weed killer in areas that you can't reach with your mower. If you use chemical herbicides, keep your pets away from the treated area for a few days to prevent accidental ingestion or having skin contact with the product. Weed killers are one of the biggest yard dangers for pets, but it doesn't mean you can't use them at all — you just have to be strategic.


Get rid of fleas in the house fast with these simple treatments

Fleas and ticks aren't just outdoor pests — they can infest your home too. These parasites often hide in carpet fibers and bedding and can survive a whole winter indoors. 

It's a good idea to wash your linens and your dog's bedding in hot soapy water every week or two to kill any fleas or flea eggs on them.

You should also vacuum a few times a week during flea and tick season — but don't dump the canister into the trash when you finish. Bag up the contents and place them in an outdoor receptacle so the fleas you suck up won't reinfest your home.

person parting the fur of a dog to reveal a parasite attached to the skin

Groom your pet daily

Besides helping to keep your dog's coat healthy, regular grooming can alert you to fleas and ticks. Grooming doesn't have to entail a full bath and blowout, either. Take 5 minutes every day to brush or finger-comb your pet and check for signs of parasites.

Pet parents rarely see fleas on their pets until there's a full-blown infestation, especially if they have dark fur. A better way to tell if a dog or cat has fleas is to look for "flea dirt," which is crumbly and resembles black or brown dirt. 

You can distinguish regular dirt from flea dirt by mixing it with a drop of water. If you mix it with water and it turns red, chances are it's flea fecal matter. 


Remove ticks quickly and carefully

Ticks can slip by even with careful grooming and preventative measures. If you notice a tick on your dog, remove it immediately. Studies show that it generally takes 36 hours of skin contact for ticks to transmit the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in dogs and cats.

If you find a tick on your dog, use a clean pair of tweezers to remove it. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull the tick away from the animal. After removing a tick, wash the affected area with clean water and dog shampoo to reduce the risk of infection.

If the head does not come out with the tick, do not try to scrape it out with tweezers or another sharp instrument. Usually, a dog's body will eject the head naturally. However, if the area starts showing signs of infection, like redness, swelling, or oozing pus, you'll need to visit a vet. Rashes around the bite wound are also cause for concern and should be looked at by a vet.

The most effective way to keep parasites and the diseases they carry away from your fur-babies is to put them on a preventative medication. Routine care costs can add up fast — when you invest in a pet wellness plan, you'll be reimbursed for 100% of the cost of your pet's parasite preventative meds within 24 hours. Check out our wellness plans to learn more!


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