(WWLP) – Getting outside and enjoying the day can bring a smile to not only your face, but also your pet’s. It is great exercise for them as well.
But after a walk around the neighborhood or in the woods, there is one thing you don’t want to bring home with you… ticks. Ticks thrive in western Massachusetts during the summer time and are the primary culprit of lymes disease.
There are two types of ticks that are common in the Pioneer Valley, the deer tick and the dog tick. Both types of ticks can commonly be found in tall grassy areas, the woods, or in tall bushes and they wait there for an animal or person to brush up against it.
“The tick that you’re looking for is the black legged tick, which is also called the deer tick. It’s got a red body with a little red shield on it. The lower the grass, the more it is cut, the more manicured, the less likely you are to encounter ticks,” said Natasha Wright, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination.
Even then, sometimes you or your animal could come across a tick. 22News spoke with a Northampton resident who noticed more ticks than normal this past spring.
“Earlier in the season, we were getting ticks quite frequently and now that I’ve gotten protection for him. I’ve gotten him the collar, it seems to have totally stopped the ticks,” said Robert Noble of Northampton
Tick repellants are available for dogs and animals, but that doesn’t hide the fact that more people are noticing more and more ticks.
With winters not being as cold, we’ve noticed an increase in the amount of ticks we see during the year because the winter isn’t cold enough to kill them off. Some ticks will become less active when temperatures drop down below 35 degrees. But it takes multiple days with temperatures below 10 degrees to kill ticks, and with a warmer climate this is become less and less likely.
This larger tick population makes it important to always be checking your animal for ticks.
“Let’s say your animals are outside and then afterwards, probably within a couple of days or weeks, you see fever, lethargy where they are feeling a little bit low energy, lack of appetite. It can get worse than that, but those are usually the common symptoms that they have lymes disease,” said Wright.
Of course, your vet will help you with testing if you suspect that your pet might have lymes disease. As we head into the fall months, we will start to notice a decrease in the amount of ticks we see, but it is still important to stay alert.