Consumer Reports: Stop ticks from biting your pets

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Tick season is here, and if your pet spends any time in the grass or woods, chances are you've spotted the blood-sucking creatures on yourself or your pet.

Tick season is here, and if your pet spends any time in the grass or woods, chances are you've spotted the blood-sucking creatures on yourself or your pet.

There are several tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, which can be serious for humans and pets. Consumer Reports has some simple ways to help protect your pet.

Simon is a 120-pound Saint Bernard who is full of energy. But last year, he was in really bad shape.

"He couldn't even stand. He had a fever of 106, I think it was. I thought he was gonna die," said Jennifer Lyne, Simon's owner.

Simon was diagnosed with a serious case of tick-borne Lyme disease. Fortunately, with antibiotics, a steroid and IV fluids, he made a full recovery. Lyne and her boys check Simon for ticks daily so he won't get sick again.

"If you find a tick, don't panic, especially if it's just crawling around and not attached. Not all ticks carry disease. If a tick is embedded for less than 24 hours, it greatly reduces the chance of your pet getting a tick-borne disease, like Lyme," Consumer Reports Health Editor Catherine Roberts said.

Always remove any ticks immediately. To remove the embedded ones, use a fine-nosed tweezer. Keep an eye on your pet for suspicious symptoms.

"It's also important to use an oral or a topical anti-tick medication on your pet for the best protection. But be sure to check with your vet before you use any of these treatments," Roberts said.

Your yard is the next battleground. Keep the grass low and clear out leaf piles to deprive ticks of hiding places. Those steps are low tech and non-toxic.

Lyne is considering having boxes containing pesticide-laced cotton installed on her lawn. The pesticide kills the ticks after tick hosts like chipmunks or mice crawl into the boxes and take the cotton for their nests. But don't worry, the pesticides doesn't hurt the animals.

Bait boxes are another type of tick prevention measure to install on your lawn. But you'll need to check with a licensed pest control professional to see what type of anti-tick technology is permitted in your community.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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pets-animalspet carepet healthticksconsumer reports