Montana has had a Spring season with above average precipitation, and the extra wet and cool Spring helped those creepy crawlies—the ticks—establish themselves. Now ticks are active in Montana for most the of the year, but they are particularly active in the Spring and the early-to-mid summer months (they are around in late-summer and fall but usually less active). Unfortunately, for both you and your dog, that means we are entering the season when active ticks are waiting with open arms, barbed appendages that easily grasp a dog’s fur, to find a food source. While for most of us humans it’s relatively easy to keep clear of most ticks by steering clear of tall grass and shrubs—areas where ticks most like to hide in wait—our dogs don’t understand the same inherent dangers. And while it’s not exactly a direct worry for your dog to get bitten by a tick—the rates of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases are relatively low here in Montana—your dog may bring those nasty little critters into the home, hitchhiking beneath the hide of your dog’s fur. Here’s a few ways you can prevent that from happening.
At-home grooming is vitally important to your dog’s health, but it’s also a good way to ensure there aren’t any blood-sucking hitchhikers hiding there. First, brush your dog out very well; usually, if there’s a tick in his or her fur, the brush will bring the tick out with the underfur. Then check the areas of the dog’s body where a tick would bite—check under the armpits, in the groin areas, and even in the ears.
Try to keep your dog out of areas where ticks thrive; stay clear of areas of tall grass and brush; thick shrubbery; etc. And for an extra layer of protection there are several types of tick-and-flea deterrents on the market; several will even kill the tick once it has bitten the dog.
Remember, even though there is a threat of ticks in the Spring and the Summer, you and your dog should still enjoy the warm summer months to their fullest.