Even if your dog tays close to home, ticks are canny creatures, and they have ways of making it into your home and onto your pets, even with preventions in place. All it takes is a few ticks to get established in an area to set up a full-scale infestation of your yard, your dog, and your home. Here are five common ways your dog gets ticks.
No yard is an island unto itself, and squirrels, raccoons, feral cats, and other small rodents will find ways to get into your yard, carrying ticks along with them. This is one reason not to encourage wild animals to come into your dog’s domain by leaving out offerings such as corn, nuts, and seeds. Even a bowl of water, left out for when your dog is outside, is an invitation for other animals to hang about.
You and your human visitors can also be unwitting carriers of ticks. They can be brought in from the person’s own home or pet without their knowledge. If you like to spend time hiking in areas where ticks are prevalent, it’s easy for a few to hitch a ride on your pants leg, socks, shoes, etc.
Anytime your dog goes out into the world — even if only for short walks around the block; play dates at the local dog park; a visit to the veterinarian; a stint at the boarding kennel; a trip to the groomer; a ride in the car; etc. — he/she is being exposed to the opportunity for fleas and ticks to hop aboard.
For the outside, there are some plants that are known for their tick repelling characteristics, and it is worth it to try anti-pest landscaping. However, it is often easier and more effective to use chemical pesticides and repellants for yard and perimeter treatment, especially when dealing with a tick infestation that is already in full progress.
If you suspect there are ticks in your area (and there probably are), don't ignore the problem. Use tick preventives year-round and inspect your dog periodically. It’s much easier to start early, keeping parasites from getting a foothold, than it is to try to eradicate them after they have had a chance to breed and establish themselves in your home and on your dog.