According to Dr. Erin Shaw of Elk Rapids Animal Hospital, Michigan has seen a steady increase in ticks and tick-related diseases over the past several years. Ticks are pests not only for you, but also your pets. However, there are ways to mitigate their influence.

April through October are important months to take preventative steps to avoid ticks, says Dr. Shaw. Be prepared this summer and take preventative steps to protect yourself and your four legged friends.

Tick for Tat: Tips for Avoiding Ticks in Northern Michigan
  • Use a topical or oral tick and flea preventative on your pet.
  • Keep grasses short as ticks can jump from long grasses onto your pet.
  • Keep wood piles away from your home.
  • Check your pet for ticks by rubbing a hand over their chest, neck and stomach.

If you do find a tick on your pet, use tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the head as possible. Apply steady pressure to pull the entire tick from your pet. Try not tear it in two. Leaving a portion of the tick on your pet can cause more irritation.

There are several tick species. According to Dr. Shaw, the blacklegged tick is a carrier for lyme disease. Like humans, dogs can contract the disease, and symptoms include inactivity and lack of appetite. Unlike humans, you will not see a rash on your pet. A misconception about these little bugs is they die if not on a host or in mild temperatures. This is not the case as ticks can survive up to several weeks in your home and in close-to-freezing temperatures.

Have questions about ticks? Give the Elk Rapids Animal Hospital a call at 231.264.6700.

Photo(s) by Lydia Mejia