Well, this spring has certainly been atypical. COVID-19 is filling every aspect of our lives. For many of us, getting outside into nature is a welcomed break during lockdown (granted we are doing it in a safe way while respecting physical distancing). Being outside is also very important for our furried friends, and if your house is anything like ours, the requests for walks seem to becoming more and more frequently!
That being said, even though we have a lot of other things to worry about, it's still important to think about being tick safe while outdoors. Although ticks may not be top of mind right now, spring is a high activity time for many species of ticks and we should keep practicing our tick prevention activities.
So, if you are getting out into the great outdoors with your pet family, remember these key pieces of information:
1. Use tick prevention: There are several excellent veterinary products that provide broad spectrum protection against ticks for your pets. Although many veterinary clinics are not conducting routine appointments currently, it is still possible to get a tick prevention product from your veterinarian through telephone consults. Give your vet clinic a call today to see what options exist.
2. Stay out of tick habitat: Forested and brushy areas are prime habitat for several species of ticks, including blacklegged ticks. Grassy areas as well as ditches and fences lines are prime habitat for other species, like the American dog tick. Staying away from these areas by sticking to well groomed paths will decrease your likelihood of coming into contact with ticks. This applies to you and your pets.
3. Conduct a thorough tick check: When you come back in from your walk, make sure to do a thorough tick check on both your pet and yourself. Ticks like warm, moist areas, so many sure to check the less obvious spots, too.
For you, it is also recommended that you cover up as much as possible with light coloured clothing and use a repellent containing DEET or Icaridin (not on your pets though).
If you do find a tick on your pet, see our helpful instructions for tick removal. Plus our Pet Tick Tracker is up and running again! We've made some minor changes and are now requesting that all submissions come with a photo. This makes validating our findings much easier so our data is robust.
If you find a tick on yourself, please visit etick.ca.
Stay safe and healthy!