Sunday, October 3, 2010

Save Your Dog From Ticks – 10 Easy Treatments For Your Yard

Any veterinarian will tell you that it’s imperative that you treat your dog for tick prevention.  What they might not tell you is that it’s a good idea to treat your yard as well as your dog. Consider it a double dose of prevention for repelling ticks from your dog.
General yard work is the first step to reducing and eliminating ticks from your yard.
1.       Keep your grass short.  Ticks wait on tall grass to hop onto a dog to feed. When the grass is shorter it’s more difficult for the tick to hitch a ride.
2.      Rake up leaves frequently so piles don’t form. A piles of leaves is a high rise for ticks, providing both a home (they love moist areas) and a ladder to get high enough to hop on your dog.
3.      Trim your bushes and prune your trees to keep the sunlight shining through to keep the area underneath dry.
4.      Use cedar chips for landscaping.  Cedar oil is a natural repellent for insects, including ticks. Use cedar chips around your trees, in your shrub beds and as a finishing touch to your flower bed.
5.      If you have a bird feeder, only fill it in the winter. Birds carry fewer ticks in the winter than they do in the summer.
Commercial products also exist to help manage the tick population in your yard.
6.    Damminix Tick Tubes®  is a product I recently discovered. Of all the commercial products available to minimize ticks in the yard, I like this one best. It’s a simple premise.  Ticks hop on mice just like they hop on dogs. So the Damminix Tick Tubes are filled with a cotton-like product that mice use to build their nests. The cotton is soaked in a tick-killing chemical that is not harmful to mice. So the mice use the nest-building cotton, the ticks hop on the mice and go back to the nest where the chemicals in the cotton kill the ticks.  No chemicals sprayed across your lawn.
7.      Mouse traps.  Since mice carry ticks it stands to reason that if you trap mice, you’ll also trap ticks.  I personally don’t care for mouse traps but they are used by many people.
8.      Yard fogger helps control the tick population with time-released action to kill hatching eggs for one to two weeks.   Be sure to keep your pet indoor until the “fog” has fully dried and do not spray on fruits and vegetables that you will eat.  Though there are yard foggers available in your garden store, ask your vet for a fogger developed specifically to protect pets.
9.      A yard spray is different than a yard fogger.  The fogger is intended to cover more square footage while a spray is intended for a more focused area where ticks tend to be more highly concentrated.   As with the fogger, be sure your dog stays indoors  until the spray dries.
10.  Diatomaceous Earth. Sometimes called DE, Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, natural rock that crumbles easily into a powder-like substance.  It’s nontoxic for pets and people, but something within it kills ticks.  Sprinkle the powder near your trees and bushes and along your fence or property line.  

The National Park Service offers yet one more way to eliminate ticks.  Build a Dry Ice Tick Trap.

To build a dry ice tick trap put a pound of dry ice in a Styrofoam cooler. Poke a few holes in the cooler so that that carbon dioxide in the dry ice escapes the cooler as it vaporizes. This attracts the ticks.  Place double sided sticky tape around the cooler. This traps the ticks and they die.   

If you have a child interested in science, this could be a fun and useful experiment!

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