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Tips to protect your pets as tick season has arrived in Idaho

Posted at 5:15 PM, May 19, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — My dog Chief and I are experiencing spring for the first time and with that comes tick season. I've already pulled about a half dozen of these tiny insects out of my dog's fur.

"We are mostly worried about ticks because they carry bacteria diseases," said Dr. Adrian Dannis of theIdaho Humane Society. "If a tick bites your dog it can transmit disease and your dog can get pretty sick. It can cause blood disorders, long-term kidney damage and arthritis.”

One of the ticks I pulled off my dog

So what can pet owners do to minimize the risk while recreating in the outdoors with man's best friend?

"There are lots of options people can choose," said Dr. Dannis. "Some people put a collar on their pets during the warmer months, other people do the drops on their back and there are some great chewables."

The grass has grown tall at Harrison Hollow

I ended up going with Bravecto, a chewable that lasts for 12-weeks. This prescription says it will kill ticks that bite my dog, but it does cost around $75. I had to get approval from my veterinarian, but that's something Dr. Dannis recommends doing anyway.

"You want to make sure you talk to your vet, especially if your pet has any underlying health conditions," said Dr. Dannis. "If you are thinking about treating your cats make sure it is a product that is safe for cats, because not all dog products can be given to cats."

Mary Brook and her dog Biscuit

I caught up with dog owners at Harrison Hollow. Mary Brook told me she found a tick on her dog Biscuit last week.

"Even up in Cascade with a higher elevation that surprised me," said Brook. "It was colder, it was spring and the ticks have started."

Protecting our pets from ticks

Ticks can be found anywhere at this point, especially in the brush like at the Oregon Trail, in the tall grass on the foothills trails and down by the river.

Dr. Dannis recommends using a tick comb to remove any ticks you find and not your fingers. Also make sure to check yourself and the people you are hiking with. However, the good news for us humans is there haven't been any confirmed cases of Lyme Disease here in Idaho, but ticks could still make you sick.