Porky & Buddy Pet Health: Ticked At April Tick Incursion

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Help!  We have always been conscientious about using a topical flea and tick product (/Frontline Plus) on our pets, and that has always seemed to be effective.

But we have never started it before May at the earliest and now our dog Bozo is coming in with ticks almost every day.

In April!!!  I thought those little buggers die or something over the winter.  What is going on? If this is global warming then I am NOT IN FAVOR!


Dear Evelyn,
No, you are not going to trick us into a debate over global warming.  We are not the Polar Bear Preservation Society!  (Ew, that sounded heartless didn’t it?  But did it also sound like we actually think that global warming is real and will impact all animals, not just human animals? There you did trick us into it! But enough about that.)

Ticks are not only gross. They are also pretty tough. Our winters here in Oswego County generally at least slow them down considerably and it takes a while for the population to build back up to problematic levels.

But the reality is that our winter this year was weirdly mild and ticks are out there in full swing much earlier than we are all used to.

So you need to talk to your vet this year about when you should start prevention and don’t be surprised if your vet says, NOW!

The thing to remember, too, is that Frontline doesn’t repel the ticks, it simply kills them.

Eventually, You still have to remove them. So be sure to check your pets  when they come inside and remove what you see.  Yes it is an icky process, but strangely satisfying.

Don’t add a flea/tick collar when you are using a topical medication, and definitely avoid any type of flea/tick shampoo unless you talk to your vet and she specifically recommends such an extra step as safe.

The other thing to remember is that the cool but not freezing  wet weather that we have been having with lots of fallen leaves to provide shelter results in a perfect habitat for ticks to lie in wait for warm-blooded animals to come near.

So you might want to also think about controlling the outside environment as much as possible.

This generally involves minimizing the areas that provide ideal tick habitat. You should remove leaves and, if possible  clear away brush and tall grass from around your kennel or house; wherever your pets may be roaming.

And remember too that certain animals are carriers for ticks; deer, rodents and other such animals are notorious for harboring  ticks.

Keeping them away from your house helps to control the ticks in your pets’ nearby outdoor  play areas.

We don’t pretend to be gardening experts, but we are told there are some environmentally safe and pet-friendly sprays that can be used around the yard or kennel areas that can help in reducing the number of ticks in your yard.

They are primarily natural plant-based  pyrethrums or the synthetic versions (which are  called generically pyrethroids).

If you decide to go that route, follow the directions for application times and rates carefully.

Even if your spray is environmentally friendly, you should still take precautions not to use it where run-off could enter a natural waterway.

And don’t complain too much if we get some April snow showers.

Speaking of complaining, come to the Cranky Cats Adoption Day on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oswego Public Library, 120 E. Second St., Oswego.

While you are there you can also see an exhibit of the funny and endearing Cranky Cats series by Cynthia Schmidt, a local artist whose work will be on exhibit at the library for the month of April.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need,  humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, NY. Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org