People and pets alike are all through the roof about the nice weather, but with warmth comes many tiny bugs that can lead to not-so-tiny problems. According to the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, more than 90 percent of Lyme disease cases from tick bites are reported in just ten northeastern states. New Jersey falls in the top half of this list, and tick numbers are expected to hit extreme highs this summer in our state. For a month or more this summer, we can also expect cicadas, allegedly harmless bugs that can actually pose a threat to our pets. What can you do to help protect your pooch?
Dogs are extremely susceptible to tick bites and the resulting illnesses, including Lyme disease. If tick bites are hard to spot on humans, finding out if your dog has been bitten is even more difficult. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that signs of tick-borne illness may not manifest for 7-21 days or more after your dog is bitten. Even then these signs, which include change in behavior or appetite, can be very subtle. The best thing you can do for your dog is to take preventive measures to avoid ticks and tick bites.
The CDC suggests that in order to reduce the chances that your pet will be exposed to ticks and tick-borne diseases, you should:
- Check your pet daily for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors.
- If you do find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately. For tips on how to properly remove a tick that may already be attached to the skin, you can read step by step instructions at the Lyme Research Alliance website or treatthebite.com.
- Reduce tick habitat in your yard by trimming tall grasses and brush, mowing your lawn regularly and treating with pesticides.
- Have your groomer do a thorough tick check during routine grooming appointments. To schedule your pet for a full groom, call us at Morris Animal Inn at 973-539-0377.
- Most importantly: talk with your veterinarian. Have your vet conduct a tick check every time your pet has an exam, ask about common tick diseases in your area, and talk about tick preventatives for your pet.
The best method of preventing Lyme and other tick related diseases is to prevent the ticks themselves. A pesticide product that will kill ticks that attach to your dog is an important step towards giving your pet the proper protection. Protecting your dog will help keep you and your family safe as well; though you cannot catch Lyme disease from your dog, ticks that attach to your pet and are then carried into your home can put you at risk. Speak with your vet about finding the right product.
But what about those pesky cicadas? These underground nymphs emerge sometimes as infrequently as once every 17 years, and though they will not bite or sting your pet, they may prove dangerous if your pet decides to do the biting. Cicadas will shed their shells, an exoskeleton that can look like a crunchy treat to dogs, but these shells are not digestible.
The Humane Society warns that though cicadas and their shells may be appealing to pets, ingesting too many can cause vomiting, choking or even an allergic reaction. It’s best to watch your dog while outdoors for signs of interest in these bugs, and prevent your pet from munching on them whenever possible. If your dog shows adverse reactions after eating cicadas, consult your vet for proper treatment.