When it comes to keeping ticks off your dog, prevention is key. Since ticks often live in the pet’s own yard, it’s important to keep up with a regular lawn maintenance routine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide general information on ticks as well as tips for keeping these nasty nuisances away.
Ticks belong to the arachnid family and are classified as ectoparasites that feed on the blood of mammals. Aside from latching on to their “host” and causing the animal discomfort, they can also carry diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Anaplasmosis. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t jump or fly; rather, they attach themselves to other animals when they’re alerted to the host’s presence through smells, vibrations, etc. One of the ways they do this is by waiting on long blades of grass with their legs outstretched, waiting to latch on to an unsuspecting pup.
Life Cycle of a Tick
While ticks often die after their inability to find a host, they can survive for years as they cycle through each of the four stages of life: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Once a tick hatches from its egg, it requires blood for survival—be it from mammals, birds, or reptiles.
Lawn Care Tips for Avoiding Ticks
Not only will regular yard maintenance keep your lawn in pristine shape, upkeep will keep ticks away in every stage of their life cycle. Here’s how to protect your pet like a pro.
- Mow regularly. The higher the blade, the easier it will be for ticks to reach your animal and latch on to start feeding.
- Apply tick pesticides (called acaricides) to reduce the amount of ticks in your home’s vicinity. Double check to make the Environmental Protection Agency allows for pesticide application in your area.
- Keep your yard free of debris and household items including things you’re waiting to donate or trash.
- Remove fallen leaves immediately. Rake often since ticks will use leaves like blades of grass—perched and waiting to clasp on to the dog or cat.
- If you don’t have a fenced backyard or there is a significant amount of brush along your property line, create a barrier to prevent ticks from crawling onto your lawn. Ensure the barrier is at least three feet wide and constructed from wood chips, rocks, or gravel.
- Collect firewood? Make sure it stays neatly stacked in a cool, dry area to keep rodents away. Fewer rodents mean fewer hosts for ticks.
- Plant Mother Nature’s tick repellent to keep ticks away from your home. Lavender and Peppermint are unappealing to ticks and, as an added bonus, are 100% non-toxic and safe for the family dog.
- All exterior equipment including furniture, playground structures, even patios and decks should have ample distance from trees and bushes. Direct sunlight is best.
Keeping your lawn free of ticks is the best course of action for keeping them off your dog. By being proactive and looking after your yard, you’ll be saving your animal from blood-sucking ticks and yourself from the headache of treating them after a bite.