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How To Get Rid Of Ticks In The Yard

Ticks can pose some serious health problems for your pets (and even you). A parasite, they will attach on your dog or cat and feed on their blood slowly, while transmitting diseases at the same time. Their presence can sometimes go unnoticed, which makes it far easier for them to spread diseases in your pets.

Difference between fleas and ticks

Fleas are also blood-sucking parasites that can cause pet health problems, but they are very different from ticks.

Fleas are insects, which means they have six legs, while ticks are arachnids with eight legs. If your pet is infested by either fleas or ticks, it is far more likely for a tick to then move on to humans as a host than fleas, who tend to only prefer furry animals, such as your dog or cat.

Fleas are particularly good at jumping and can leap over 80 times their own height. This means it is extremely easy for them to travel from animal to animal, or from an infested area onto your pet. Ticks, on the other hand, cannot jump—their potential host has to brush past them in order for them to attach.

Significantly, tick bites don’t cause the same kind of itching that flea bites do. This means there sometimes aren’t any telltale signs that your pet has a tick infestation since ticks don’t cause your dog or cat to scratch. Instead, it is often only when your pet starts falling ill that you will discover you have a tick problem.

Types of diseases ticks can cause

Tick-bite paralysis or tick paralysis in dogs is one of the most life-threatening diseases your dog can face. (Tick paralysis in cats are highly uncommon in the US.) The first body parts to be paralyzed when a dog is affected by tick paralysis are generally its hind legs (or lower extremities). Gradually spreading up towards the dog’s front legs, tick paralysis becomes fatal when it starts affecting the diaphragm, causing respiratory arrest.

It is important to remember that ticks don’t just cause tick paralysis in dogs. They are also the source of other very serious—and sometimes deadly—diseases. These include Lyme disease, ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, tularemia, and babesiosis.

Not every disease is prevalent everywhere that you can find a tick. There are certain areas in the US where particular diseases are more common. For example, Lyme disease is mostly spread in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

However, there is always a chance that any of the diseases that ticks spread can be found in areas not previously known to carry them.

When tick activity is at its highest

Tick season is at its peak usually from April through to September. They tend to be at their most active in late summer, fall, and even winter.

However, as long as the temperature is above freezing, there is always a likelihood that your pet will be infected by a tick.

How do tick infestations happen?

When your pet brushes past a tick or ticks, they will attach themselves to your pet and start feeding on their blood. They will continue to do so until full, upon which they will fall off and lay eggs.

Because ticks are extremely tiny—about the size of a sesame seed—they can be very easy to miss. They are also clever creatures who will find a spot to feed where you pet cannot reach: the head and ears.

Your pet will likely be either in your house or yard by the time a tick is full engorged enough to fall off to lay several hundred eggs at a time, and that is when you face a tick infestation. If you are trying to get rid of ticks in the house, there is a very high possibility that you have a tick infestation in your yard as well (or vice versa).

Preparing to kill ticks in the yard

How to get rid of ticks in the yard is very similar to how to get rid of fleas in the yard. Like fleas, ticks love warm and moist environments, which means they can be found in very similar hiding spots.

Look for ticks in the dog kennel, outdoor furniture, under the porch, near trees, below shrubs, and along the fence lines. Think about where your pet loves to be and remember that ticks can hide in several places as well.

So clear your yard of debris, dead leaves, grass cuttings, wood piles, bushy growths and general clutter. Rake the yard well and give your grass a good mow.

Expose your entire yard to as much sunlight as possible and keep wildlife out of the yard, since they could be hosting ticks themselves.

Killing ticks in the yard

Tick tubes

These are little tubes filled with pesticide designed to kill ticks. Ticks don’t directly ingest the pesticide. Instead, tick tubes contain pesticide-covered cotton that many warm little critters love to build nests and dens with.

When taking off with the cotton from the tick tubes, these warm little critters, such as squirrels and mice, will inevitably be covered by the pesticide (which are harmless to them). Since warm little critters are also tick magnets, it won’t be long before you will be getting rid of ticks in the yard.

Be aware however that tick tubes are reliant on other animals actually coming into contact with them, so may not be completely effective.

Tick pesticides

Spraying tick pesticides onto hotspots of tick infestations is a more direct—and time-consuming—way of killing ticks in the yard. They do come with a spray applicator though, which makes them easy to use.

Most tick pesticides are safe to use on your lawn and garden but can be harmful if ingested. So take care when using them, especially around animals and children. Allow the pesticide to dry completely before allowing pets and children out in the yard again.

Nematodes

These microscopic worms are a natural way to get rid of ticks in the yard. Nematodes (also called roundworms or eel worms) harmless to humans, pets, and plants, but will kill ticks. Spray beneficial nematode solution inshadier areas, as they—like ticks—don’t survive very well under the hot sun.

Chickens

If your yard allows for it, you may want to keep a chicken or two as they will make a tasty meal out of ticks.

How to find ticks on your pet

If you are needing to get rid of ticks in the yard, there’s a very high chance it’s because your pet is hosting them.

Ticks are most commonly found hiding in grass, trees, shrubs, and underbrush. This means you should be giving your dog or cat a thorough look over if you know they’ve spent any amount of time outside of your home.

Focus on areas where your pet cannot reach to groom, so their heads and ears, but inspect the rest of their body as well. Since ticks don't cause itching, your pet may not even realize they are playing host to ticks.

How to get rid of ticks on your pet

If you find a tick on your dog or pet, remove it with a special tick removal tool or a pair of tweezers. Be sure to grab the tick by its head and not its body, so that you cleanly remove all parts of the tick from your pet.

Pull straight up and away from the skin, making sure not to twist. Inspect your pet’s skin where it has been bitten to make sure no part of the tick, such as its head or parts of its mouth, are still lodged in them. Clean the area with soap and water.

Make sure you don’t kill the removed tick with your bare hands as diseases can be spread that way. Instead, you can simply drop the tick in a little bit of alcohol. Keep its carcass in a sealed container for a few days, and monitor your pet, just in case you need to pay a visit to the veterinarian.

Looking for ticks, however, can be a rather tedious affair, so it’s probably not the preferred method if you are trying to get rid of a tick infestation.

Tick and flea medications and preventatives

You should consider using tick preventative medications regularly, both to kill ticks your pet may currently be hosting, as well as to protect them from any possible future infestations.

Most preventative medicationsalso kill and repel fleas, give your petadded protection. Use them all year round to ensure maximum effectiveness. Here are a few to choose from.

Bravecto is popular flea and tick treatment and comes in both chewable form and as a topical spot-on, which makes it a perfect preventative for both dogs and cats. Unlike most other flea and tick treatment which needs to be used monthly,Bravecto offers up to 12 weeks of protection (8 weeks for lone star tick).

Frontline Plus is a topical treatment suitable for monthly use on both cats and dogs. While topical treatments require you to apply the medication directly onto your pet, it is very beneficial for pets who refuse to swallow or chew tablets.

Frontline Plus is used to protect your pet againstall stages of the American dog tick, lone star tick, black-legged (deer) tick, and brown dog tick. Designed to be used every 30-days on puppies and kittens 8 weeks of age or older, Frontline Plus also protectsthem from fleas, and kills and repels mosquitoes.

Collars are extremely useful especially during the summer months, when both flea and tick activities are at their highest. The Seresto flea collar offers long-lasting flea and tick protection (up to 8 months), and prevents tick infestations within 48 hours of wearing. To use, put it around your pet’s neck as you would a pet collar, with just enough room to fit two fingers under the collar (the collar needs to make contact with your pet’s skin to be effective).

Preventing future tick infestations

Besides regularly giving your pets flea and tick preventative medication, there are a couple of things you can do to stop ticks from paying your yard a visit.

Tick-repelling plants

Ticks are not a great fan of chrysanthemums, lavender, peppermint, garlic, and sage. Planting these on the perimeter of your yard will help prevent ticks from entering your yard.

Cedar chips

Cedar chips often create a drier environment, which ticks don’t like. So when they are sprinkled along the fence line, where sunlight doesn’t usually reach and, where it tends to be moist, it will serve as a deterrent for ticks, who love humid atmospheres.


How To Get Rid Of Ticks In The Yard

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