Fleas and ticks are dangerous pests for both pets and humans. They can cause itching and skin irritation and transmit disease, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by bites from infected ticks. Unfortunately, ticks are common pests in the Midwest, most often found in long grass or wooded areas. They wait on the ends of grass or bushes and crawl on animals or people as they brush past.
Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose and has symptoms that could be a result of multiple causes. The most common symptoms in dogs include: joint pain or swelling, limping, fever, loss of appetite and decreased energy. If not diagnosed and treated, the infection can cause damage to the heart, nervous system and kidneys, which in some cases can be fatal.
Flea and tick season in Illinois starts in March and lasts all the way through December, with ticks most active in spring and early summer, so it’s important to be vigilant about protecting your dog or cat year-round. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to protect you, your pet, and your home.
Flea & tick prevention and treatment
The best way to prevent Lyme disease and deal with fleas and ticks is to prevent your pet from getting them. You can protect your pet by:
- Avoiding areas with long grass or dense vegetation;
- Getting your dog vaccinated against Lyme disease;
- Checking for and removing ticks immediately after your pet has been in a tick-infested area; and
- Using flea and tick repellent collars or treatments.
If your pet does get bitten by these pesky pests, don’t panic! You don’t have to cover your pet in chemicals. Natural flea and tick shampoos and sprays from TropiClean and Skout’s Honor effectively kill them using essential oils, like peppermint, cedarwood and cinnamon oils. Some shampoos and sprays also temporarily repel fleas or mosquitos after use. They'll keep your pet safe and smelling great!