How to protect your pet against ticks

Several tick-borne diseases can be serious for humans, pets

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - We are in the middle of tick season. 

So if your pet spends time in the grass or woodsy areas, there's an increased chance it'll pick up the blood-sucking critters.  

There are several tick-borne diseases that can be serious for humans and pets.  

"If you find a tick, don't panic, especially if it's just crawling around and not attached," said Consumer Reports health editor Catherine Roberts. "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." 

Roberts said always remove ticks immediately. To remove the embedded ones, experts said use fine-nosed tweezers and 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.

The next battleground for ticks is the yard. Be sure to mow it often to keep the grass low and clear out leaf piles to deprive ticks of hiding places. 

Another good idea is to plant boxes with pesticide-laced cotton installed on the lawn.

The pesticide kills the ticks and tick hosts, such as chipmunks or mice that crawl into the boxes and take the cotton for their nests. 

Don't worry, the pesticide does not hurt the animals.

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