With winter on its way, it might seem silly to be talking about ticks. However, fall is one of the times of the year when ticks are most active. There are four common types of ticks in Montana, and they are all quite keen to attach themselves to a host. If your pet spends time outdoors, here’s how to keep them safe.
Why Are Ticks Dangerous?
Ticks pose dangers in more ways than the nasty illnesses they’re known for. While ticks do spread Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, those cases are rather rare in Montana. However, ticks are still dangerous—if pets scratch them off, their bites leave small open wounds that allow infections to enter the bloodstream.
Tick bites can also be incredibly painful, itchy, and irritating. A well-lodged tick can cause all sorts of problems if it gets stuck in certain places. Ticks near the mouth can impede eating, ticks in the groin can make urinating or bowel movements painful, and ticks in between the toes can make walking painful, too.
How to Check Your Pet for Ticks
- Be thorough! When you’re doing a tick check, it is important to take your time. Start with your pet’s face and work your way down to the tip of their tail.
- Check problem areas twice. Ticks like to hide under the chin, in the armpits, between the toes, and in the groin area.
- Use a comb or brush to groom your pet as you go. This will dislodge any ticks that are still in the fur and haven’t made it to the skin yet.
How to Remove Your Pet’s Ticks
- Find a pair of clean tweezers or use a tick removal device.
- Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, and grasp the tick firmly. Do not apply too much pressure, as you do not want to dismember the tick.
- Using a firm upward motion, pull the tick away from the skin. Do not twist. If any part of the tick gets stuck underneath the skin, remove it with the tweezers.
- Dispose of the tick by placing it in rubbing alcohol, sealing it in a zipper bag, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
- Wash your hands and cleanse the bite area with rubbing alcohol or warm water and soap.
Tick Prevention Is Key
A little prevention goes a long way if you want to avoid dealing with all the hullabaloo of removing ticks. Try to keep your pet out of long grasses, bushes, and heavily wooded areas. Brushing out coats or giving them a bath after outdoor walks or hikes will also help, and boots can keep ticks from bites between the toes. If you are planning to spend a good deal of time outdoors, using a pet-safe insect repellent on your gear can also help.
Poor Dental Health Can Affect Your Pet’s Ability to Fight Infections
Gum disease and poor dental health make infections more likely, so brushing your pet’s teeth is very important. While it might seem like a difficult thing to do every day, it can go a long way toward keeping your pet healthy.
At-home dental care and visits to a veterinary dentist are necessary for every pet. The team at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery will help you take excellent care of your pet’s oral health so they can live a long and happy life. If your pet is due for a dental checkup, contact us today to schedule an appointment.