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Summer has arrived, bringing warmer weather, sunshine and…ticks.

Summer has arrived, bringing warmer weather, sunshine and…ticks. Ticks are transporters of disease and able to carry more than one at a time. They are second only to mosquitoes as carriers of human disease, both infectious and toxic and they are increasing in number every year.

Surprisingly, ticks are not considered insects. Because their bodies have eight legs and they are in the arachnida classification, they are more closely related to spiders. Ticks only breed while they’re feeding, and a female tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs, but for certain species of tick they can lay up to 20,000. Found in nearly every part of the world and all fifty states of the U.S., ticks can survive in all kinds of conditions, meaning that a pet, with the expanding numbers of ticks and the areas that they roam, have an increased chance of becoming an unknowing host. While ticks can’t actually jump onto a pet, they wait in grass and bushes, and are then able to latch on when a pet passes by. Disease can be transmitted between 3-6 hours of a tick bite, leaving a small window of time for a pet parent to find the tick.

It’s no fun having to remove ticks from a pet, so what can you do so lessen the chances of squealing while taking a pair of tweezers to your pets skin? Treatments that are either in pill form or a spot on medication are pretty popular, and can keep ticks and other parasites at bay for up to a month. While spot on medications are great, instructions still need to be read carefully, and a vet should be called before application if there are still any questions. Pill treatments are easy to give, and another good thing about them is if small children and cats are around, there won’t be any concerns about contact.

Bathing a pet with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients will generally kill ticks on contact. While it’s not too much money, it might be more time consuming, since a bath would need to be given every two weeks since the effective ingredients won’t last for too long. Tick collars are another preventative, although they mainly protect a pet’s neck and head. While the collar needs to touch the pet’s skin for the chemicals to get onto the fur and skin, there also needs to be enough room for two fingers to fit under the collar so it isn’t too tight. Any extra length of the collar needs to be cut off to prevent pet’s from chewing.

Remember that tick preventatives do not only include preventives for the family pet, but treating the house and lawn as well. Keeping lawns, bushes, and trees trimmed will help cut back the population of ticks and other parasites in a yard. Fewer places for them to be means fewer parasites to be concerned with. By taking these steps, a pet can enjoy the seasons and have minimal risk of attracting ticks.