5 Ways to Protect Your Pet from Ticks

by Melissa Chichester

Some people find spiders cute. Some people even find beetles visually appealing.

Nobody likes the tiny, predatory, bloodsucking parasites we know as ticks.

When winters are mild, ticks and other parasites are in-season earlier than usual. Notorious for being difficult to find and remove, ticks can cause serious health problems for pets by spreading diseases, some of which can even be transmitted to humans. Ticks can be avoided by keeping your pets away from wooded areas with thick brush or long grass; however, this method isn’t 100% foolproof. Here are 5 ways to be proactive with tick prevention.

Topical Solutions

One-time use topical insecticides, such as Frontline, are an easy way to ward off ticks. These applications typically last for 30 days when applied before exposure. To apply Frontline, start between the shoulder blades and squeeze the solution out to the middle of the back or until the solution is empty. The oils in the solution will spread over your pet’s skin, and within 24 hours your pet is ready to discourage ticks from latching onto the skin.

Oral Medication

Medications disguised as tasty chewable treats are another option to tame ticks. Some oral medicines need to be prescribed by a veterinarian, like Bravecto, which protects against ticks for up to 12 weeks. Another oral prescription tick preventative is NexGard, which protects for 30 days. This is an excellent option for those with easygoing pets that don’t have trouble gobbling up a pill.

Tick Collars

For pets that don’t tolerate taking oral medications, tick collars are the way to go. Collars are more convenient in that they last longer and do not require monthly application. Tick collars can be found at all price points, and while it may be tempting to purchase the cheapest one, they are not all created equal. The Seresto collar is an odorless flea, tick, and lice collar that lasts for 8 months. These collars are adjustable and even come with 3 visibility reflectors for nighttime safety. The Seresto collar does not require a veterinarian prescription.

Tick Sprays

For pet parents who want to use a more natural tick prevention method, consider one-time use tick sprays. These sprays are often made from natural ingredients like essential oils, and can be used on an as-needed basis. Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea & Tick Repellant Spray is a combination of lemongrass, cinnamon, sesame, and castor oil, and is formulated without synthetic ingredients. Tick sprays are a good solution if you are visiting an area that is infested with ticks, but your pet isn’t around them on a daily basis.

Tick Checks

Ticks do not fly or jump; instead, they latch onto pets and crawl until they reach a damp, dark area on the body. Ticks can easily hide on dogs and cats, but are most likely to thrive on pets with long hair, so you will need to spend more time looking on these pets. To check for ticks, start at the head and feel their skin, noting any unusual bumps. Besides the main parts of the body, it is necessary to examine small crevices where ticks can hide, like on paws and in-between toes, in the ear canal, under the front and back legs, and in the groin area. A flea comb can assist in finding ticks stuck in fur that are not latched onto the pet yet.

Learn how to properly remove and dispose of a tick with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control.

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