…disease-bearing, blood-sucking creepy creatures. Believe it or not they have an active season. They are out in force from the first rain in fall and are more prevalent during warm, wet conditions.
Ticks carry a number of diseases including, but not limited to, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Your dog can catch these diseases and you and your family can too.
These days as I hike with the crew, Frontline or Advantix are not enough to keep ticks off . The darnn things are digging in in spite of these topical anti-tick medicines. I add a tick preventative collar and a drop or two of terra shield essential oil to discourage the nasty beasties. I use the essential oil on myself as well as on the dogs.
I have seen a significant reduction in the number of eight legged hitchhikers since I began using preventive collars. This is good because no matter how hard we try to get all of them off they are extremely difficult to find and are very good at hiding.
If you too are finding ticks on your four legged friends try a collar designed specifically to address ticks. There are some relatively new oral medications which target ticks and control fleas. I have not used them, but some of my clients have and report good success.
Many people think that ticks are in brush and trees and while this is true, they are also very prevalent in grassy areas so avoiding brush won’t (unfortunately) keep you or your dog tick free.
I spray my clothing with Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent or some other deet-laden repellant, tie my hair back and wear a cap, but that doesn’t keep the ticks from getting on me if they decide the dogs aren’t such a tasty feast. If possible, after I have combed the dogs thoroughly, I shower and change clothes. If I don’t have time for all that I step into my bath tub, remove and shake out my clothes & brush my hair. If any ticks are dislodged I will see them on the white porcelain and dispose of them.
First aid: If your dog has a tick embedded use your fingers or a box style paper clip (clip the clip to the tick) and unscrew the little bugger counter-clockwise. Some vets will tell you to pull them straight out and that unscrewing them is an old wives tale. I can’t vouch for old wives, but I know the counter-clockwise method of tick removal is the one I have been using successfully for 30+ years.
Of course always wash your hands after handling ticks!
Happy and tick-free hiking!