Summer is here, and with it comes the season for enjoying the great outdoors with the four-legged members of your family. Unfortunately, the warm weather and lush greenery also brings one of the most prevalent and abhorred disease-carrying pests: ticks. Here are 8 ways to prevent ticks from spreading disease to you and your dog when you are spending time in the countryside:

  1. Treat your dog with a reliable product that repels ticks.
  2. Avoid taking your dog to areas with tall grass or shrubbery, and stay on the trails.
  3. Wear long pants, and tuck your pants into your socks. It’s not pretty, but who cares, you are in the woods. I’ve also found that wearing white clothing makes it easy to spot ticks.
  4. Spray your skin and clothing with a bug repellent that contains DEET. I use one with 25% DEET, which lasts for the duration of a lengthy hike. A product with 10% DEET will last about 2 hours. Do NOT use on children under 3 years old, and don’t spray on your kids’ hands. Do NOT spray your dog.
  5. After your hike, and before you go home, check yourself and your dog carefully for ticks.
  6. Spray your dog down with water before you get in the car if you can.
  7. Shower yourself immediately when you get home. Ticks take time to attach, and if you rinse your body with water and scrub with a wash cloth, unattached ticks will fall away. Don’t forget your scalp.
  8. If you find an attached tick, remove it with tweezers. Pull slowly and steadily, and check to make sure you have removed the head. Ticks release an anaesthetic when they attach so pulling them out will not hurt your dog.

If your dog already has ticks, you might need to treat your house as well.