Ticks on cats and dogs
When spring in the air, your canine friend will be keen to adventure outdoors and enjoy some fun in the sun. Our feline friends will be just as eager, after being holed up inside during the wet and cold winter months. A prowl around their neighbourhood will be long overdue.
Remember, springtime is also the time when ticks are at their most active and they will be lurking in the abundance of vegetation and grasses, which have come to life in the spring sun, just waiting to feed on your pet!
Wildlife that has been safely tucked away keeping warm and safe over the winter months will also be out in force, foraging for food and setting up home. Birds and small mammals, such as rodents and hedgehogs, can all be infested with ticks, which could be passed onto your feline friend if they come in contact with them during hunting!
How do ticks get into your garden?
Wildlife, like birds, foxes and hedgehogs often visit our gardens looking for food or a place to set-up home. Unfortunately, they may also have some unwanted guests on board – ticks! Once a tick has finished feeding, it will then detach from its host and fall into the surrounding area, which could be your back yard.
Some ticks may also have hidden in your garden, inactive, over the cold winter months. Then, during the spring, when the temperature outdoors warms up, these slumbering ticks will awaken and be on the prowl for the nearest meal. They especially love to hide in any damp or shady spots or areas of overgrown grass or dense vegetation. Here they will perch on the edge of a leaf or a blade of grass eager for their next meal, which could be your unsuspecting sun- or shade-bathing pet!
Here are some top tips on how to ‘spring clean’ your garden and get rid of any tick ‘hideouts’:
1. Remove any dead leaves or twigs from your garden
2. Keep the grass nicely trimmed
3. Use a strimmer to cut back any overgrown areas of grass or vegetation
4. Trim back any overhanging areas of vegetation that are shading your garden or that your pet could brush past
5. Do take care to look out for any snoozing hedgehogs that may be hiding under the leaves so that they don’t come to any harm!
It’s important to remember that ticks don’t just cause discomfort and irritation. They can also pass on nasty infections that they are carrying to your pet as they feed, for example, Lyme disease, which is a bacterial infection and more recently, Babesia, which is a parasite carried in the blood. These can both have serious health repercussions for our pets and, if not treated promptly, can even be fatal.