Tick control

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By 2017-04-16

Drs. Foster & Smith Inc.
Race Foster, DVM

Dips: Dips and rinses are applied to the entire animal. They generally have some residual activity. They should be applied in a well-ventilated area according to your veterinarian's and the manufacturer's directions. It is helpful to put cotton balls in the pet's ears and ophthalmic ointment in the pet's eyes. Even with these precautions, be very careful not to get any of the product in the pet's ears or eyes. Dips and rinses usually contain permethrin (use on dogs only, not on cats) or pyrethrin.

Shampoos: Shampoos help to primarily rid the pet of the ticks it already has on it, although some have residual activity. To properly use a flea & tick shampoo you must be sure to work the shampoo in over the entire body and then leave it on at least 10 minutes before you rinse it off. This is true of almost any medicated shampoo. Again, remember to protect the eyes and ears of the pet. (HINT: Cats often do not like running water It is often better to pour water over a cat with a large pitcher.) Shampoos often contain pyrethrin.

Collars: Collars can be effective, but must be applied properly. To get the right degree of snugness, you should just be able to get two fingers between the collar and the neck of your pet. Be sure to cut off any excess portion of the collar after you have properly applied it. Otherwise, that animal or other pets may try to chew on the end. Check the package for information on duration of effectiveness since many collars lose effectiveness when they get wet, e.g.; if a dog swims a lot. Watch carefully for any irritation under the collar. If this occurs, you may need to use a different product.

Dips: Dips and rinses are applied to the entire animal. They generally have some residual activity. They should be applied in a well-ventilated area according to your veterinarian's and the manufacturer's directions. It is helpful to put cotton balls in the pet's ears and ophthalmic ointment in the pet's eyes. Even with these precautions, be very careful not to get any of the product in the pet's ears or eyes. Dips and rinses usually contain permethrin (use on dogs only, not on cats) or pyrethrin.

Shampoos: Shampoos help to primarily rid the pet of the ticks it already has on it, although some have residual activity. To properly use a flea & tick shampoo you must be sure to work the shampoo in over the entire body and then leave it on at least 10 minutes before you rinse it off. This is true of almost any medicated shampoo. Again, remember to protect the eyes and ears of the pet. (HINT: Cats often do not like running water It is often better to pour water over a cat with a large pitcher.) Shampoos often contain pyrethrin.

Collars: Collars can be effective, but must be applied properly. To get the right degree of snugness, you should just be able to get two fingers between the collar and the neck of your pet. Be sure to cut off any excess portion of the collar after you have properly applied it. Otherwise, that animal or other pets may try to chew on the end. Check the package for information on duration of effectiveness since many collars lose effectiveness when they get wet, e.g.; if a dog swims a lot. Watch carefully for any irritation under the collar. If this occurs, you may need to use a different product.

In severely tick-infested areas or for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors and in the woods, we have found a Preventic Tick Collar in addition to a topical one-a-month product is going to give your dog the best protection. This collar contains Amitraz, which is approved to use in conjunction with most other flea and tick products. With the Preventic Collar, 95% of the ticks will detach and die within 24 hours.

Remember, with any tick preventive you use on your pet, the ticks must actually be in contact with the active ingredient to be killed by it. For instance, if you only use a tick collar, you may see ticks attached and feeding on the dog, even directly under the tick collar. This has to happen for the tick to take in the insecticide and die. A good tick collar will kill the tick in 24 hours or less.

This greatly reduces the risk of tick-transmitted diseases since it generally requires the tick be attached for 48 hours or more for disease to be transmitted.

Even a pet who is treated with an insecticide could potentially get a tick that attaches for a sufficient time to transmit disease.

Vaccines for Lyme disease for dogs are available to provide that extra protection.

Tick control in the outdoor environment generally involves eliminating the habitat in the yard and kennel areas where ticks are most likely to occur. Ticks tend to prefer tall grass and brush from which they can more easily get onto an animal. To help prevent tick exposure, try to keep your pet from entering brush and tall grass. Keep grass cut short. Discourage deer from entering your yard.

Tick control for you

The following recommendations on tick control for people have been made by the federal government's Center for Disease Control:

It is best to avoid tick-infested areas especially during the times of peak tick numbers such as spring and late fall. If you are going to walk through areas where ticks could be a problem, wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into socks or boots, and tuck your shirt or blouse into your pants. If you wear light-colored clothing you will be able to spot ticks more easily. Try to walk in the center of trails to avoid long or overhanging grass and bushes. Spraying insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and exposed skin, except for your face, will help. For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html.

When you come in from the outdoors, remove your clothing and wash and dry it at a high temperature. It is a good idea to inspect yourself carefully for any ticks. If you find an attached tick, remove it carefully. Check out our article 'How do I safely remove a tick?'

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