Tips for Dealing with Ticks
Guys I HAVE to talk to you about ticks! Those vile, nasty teeny tiny no-good bugs that are truly my worst freaking nightmare during the warmer months. We take every precaution to keep them off of us, the dog and our house. I had NO IDEA about these little bugs until we moved to Connecticut. Sure I had heard of them, but never had to worry about them being on me. They are in abundance here where we live and each year that goes by seems to bring a bigger and badder tick season. Why did we moved to the suburbs again?!
I want to give you some valuable tips for dealing with ticks if you are like me and live where they live too! Seriously, I want to enjoy being outside but I find myself living in fear of finding one on my kids, the dog, or myself!
We moved to Connecticut from New York in June of 2014. I was two weeks from my due date with Valentina. Ticks were not in the front of my mind. We had Rhody, our Golden Retriever in and out of the house a lot. We have a big yard and a nice outdoor living space and like to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. That is what you do in New England after months and months of bitter cold and grey days.
Within a month, Rhody tested positive for Lyme disease. T.J. had taken him to our new veterinarian for his annual well check and with the routine blood work the doctor confirmed Lyme. Rhody had no symptoms that were common so we are guessing we caught it in the very early stages. I mean, we hadn’t lived here for more than a month so it had to be during that window of time. So, with his Lyme diagnosis we had to start some hard core meds which lead to him having very upset stomach. So, with a newborn and a 2.5 year old I was cooking scrambled eggs and boiled potatoes twice a day to feed Rhody with his meds. This eased the symptoms of his tummy troubles, but it was a long month. With some follow up blood work the meds worked and Rhody was in the clear with his Lyme. Lyme disease is SERIOUS and can lead to lots of different complications for both humans and animals if not treated.
During all of this T.J. decided to research how we could avoid this happening again to Rhody or to one of us. We found that there are several companies who spray for ticks. The service comes out to your house and sprays (chemicals or oils) your yard on a 4-6 week rotation during the peek season to reduce the tick habitat. We talked it over and after having them come out to assess our yard we decided it was a great option to help ease our minds.
So, my tips for dealing with tick season …
Get Your Yard Treated
The best peace of mind is knowing that your yard is safe. Creating a habitat that ticks don’t want to live in is key! The more you can reduce their space the better the chances are of finding them. I have seen the difference first hand what a service like this can do for a yard. We use Tick Ranger. This company doesn’t use any harsh chemicals so it is safe for us and our dog. They use a combination of essential oils and plant extracts and spray all of our yard plus 25 feet beyond the entire perimeter.
Wear Long Pants
I know it sounds crazy to wear long pants when its warm, but the less skin showing the better. If I know my kids are going to be hanging outside for long periods of time or going into the woods at camp I put them in long pants. Long pants, socks and sneakers. When they come indoors for the day I take their clothing off immediately in our laundry/mud room and shake the clothes outside. I then inspect them for anything that could potentially be attached to the skin checking their hair too. Bath time is daily during the warm months.
You might find yourself in a situation with an attached tick! 90% of the time this has happened I am home alone with the kids and the dog. I’ve had to dig in and get it off without any help while keeping my cool. It sucks! Don’t panic! HA! Last summer Anthony had one attached to the side of his head after preschool. Yup – that was a great bath time discovery after a long day. I only had tweezers and managed to get the entire tick out. That is KEY! You must be able to remove the entire tick! Having a tick key makes removing the tick from pets and people EASY! Take my word for it. Don’t be without one! Keep one on every set of keys and one spare in the house. Only $5!
I am in no way a fan of putting chemicals on me or the kids or the dog. What is a better alternative when you think about it. Living with Lyme disease or living with the side effects of spraying yourself with bug spray!? Can go either way! I have tried A TON of natural and organic bug sprays. Most of them I find need to be reapplied after only a couple of hours. I think that is doable since I’m usually with my kids when they are outside. A few favorite sprays are Nantucket Tick Repellent Spray, Burt’s Bees All Natural Outdoor Herbal Insect Repellent, and Natrapel. We use the 12 week flea & tick treatment BRAVECTO for Rhody. It is one dose chewable for Rhody that is completely safe. Bravecto kills 100% of ticks on dogs within 12 hours and has no known resistance.
Light or White Bedding
I have found a tick crawling on my bed before. Occasionally my dog likes to use my bed for naps. Well, one summer day last year he jumped off the bed when I came into the room and I walked over and saw a TICK on my bed! I wanted to faint, but I grabbed it and killed that bastard! I was thankful it wasn’t attached to the dog, but it was ON MY BED. My bedding is ALL WHITE during the summer. White sheets, white pillow cases, and a white quilt! The same for my kids! All very light colored bedding so I can see anything out of the ordinary. Who the heck wants to go to bed with a tick! GAG!
I hope these tips can help ease your mind as they do mine. I am always trying to be aware of our skin in the warm months wether it be for sun exposure or bugs. If you have some tips you’d like to share drop me a comment below! The more we share tips that safer we will all be while we enjoy the sunny days ahead!