Lyme Disease is becoming more prevalent in pets and the only way to protect your dogs and cats is to keep infected ticks away. In fact, positive cases of Lyme Disease are up 10 percent from this time last year, according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
Although Lyme Disease is a serious illness, we don’t want to keep our pets inside all year with the hopes that they won’t be bitten by an infected tick. April is Prevent Lyme in Dogs Month, so this is a great time for all pet owners to think about what they can do to help keep their pets healthy and safe. Lyme Disease is a year-round concern, but spring is possibly the worst time, as ticks are molting when the ground warms.
Here are a few ways to help protect your pet from ticks:
Use a flea and tick preventative: It is important to treat your pet with a preventative that repels ticks as well as fleas. Most pet owners assume if they are on a flea treatment that it repels ticks as well. This is not always the case. Many only work after the tick has bitten the animal. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural way to kill fleas, ticks and other insects on both cats and dogs. Although it looks and feels like flour to the naked eye, under a microscope diatomaceous earth resembles small pieces of broken glass. The food-grade diatomceous earth is harmless to us and animals, those tiny glass-like fragments kill insects and their larvae, by piercing their protective structures, which causes them to dehydrate and die. Apply the diatomceous earth lightly on your pet’s coat, as well as on bedding and carpeting, and because it can take up to 3 days for it to fully work, leave it in any fabric before cleaning. We sell a food grade type that is full of internal benefits as well.
Use a natural repellent: A natural repellent can help keep fleas and ticks at bay. We recommend the Pet Wants Flea and Tick Spray, which is made with natural essential oils such as cedar and peppermint to act as a natural deterrent for insects. Due to cat’s potential sensitivities to essential oils this product is only intended for use in dogs. Pet Wants Flea and Tick spray is properly diluted with therapeutic grade essential oils.
Keep your yard groomed: Ticks do not like to be in sunlight for extended periods of time and are found more frequently in areas where grass is more mature and has a developed underbrush. Keeping your lawn cut and well maintained could help reduce the instance of ticks in your backyard.
Treat your yard: Treat your yard with a natural insecticide, such as diatomaceous earth listed above. Again, it is safe for humans and pets, but diatomaceous earth is deadly to many parasites, including ticks. Sprinkle a small amount on your dog and cat to help with prevention during peak months. Add a light dusting to the areas of the yard your pet frequents the most such as their favorite pee spot. Diatomaceous earth also works well in preventing against garden pests.
Check for ticks: Be sure to inspect your pet closely after they’ve been outside. Ticks tend to target areas like the ears, inner thighs and legs. If you do find a tick on your pet, be sure to remove it as soon as possible. The best way to remove a tick it to grab tweezers or a tick key and place as close to the head as possible. The goal is to remove the tick completely and not have anything remain. If a tick bites your dog it can transfer the bacteria but only if it stays attached.
Lyme Disease does not appear in pets like it does in humans. Pets typically show symptoms such as fever, lameness and pain – not the Lyme Disease rash humans get. Many times, by the time you spot symptoms, it is likely the dog has already been infected, so prevention is the best tool in the fight against Lyme Disease.
If you have any questions about natural flea and tick prevention, please contact us. You can also stop by our store at Findlay Market or at 1409 Vine Street in Cincinnati. www.PetWantsCincy.com