Tips on how to step up tick protection for your pets

Midday News

Dr. Tony Kremer, Kremer Veterinary Services

2020 Tick Forecast for the Midwest

  • Illinois is highly susceptible all year long to fleas and ticks because of our climate.  We urge pet owners to take precaution early and all year long to fend off fleas and ticks. It’s also important to stress that dogs need to be vaccinated against Lyme disease that is transmitted by ticks. Cats too are very sensitive to flea products.  Over the counter products are less safe and there are numerous options oral and topical that work safer. 
  • The Midwest has some of the most abundant and diverse populations of ticks across the whole country. 
    • And because its natural areas so strongly resemble those of the northeast in terms of climate, the midwest is also a center for Lyme disease: apart from New England, the states around the great lakes see more cases of Lyme disease than any other region.
    • Summer heat, is expected to linger, pushing September and October temperatures above average and extending tick season into the fall. In the lower midwest, however, a wetter than usual spring, coupled with a lot of severe flooding, is going to extend the habitats of many tick species, and make those areas habitable for longer than usual. So, there could be a significant increase in tick activity in places like Missouri and the Ohio River valley.
    • City pet owners may be surprised that their animals can fall victim to ticks, even in their urban environment. Ticks can hop a ride on birds and mice before taking a bite out of our precious pets.  Left untreated tick bites can be very dangerous and can lead to Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The best way to avoid infection is to prevent tick bites.  
  • It is important for pet parents to be vigilant on flea and tick care especially this year. Signs your dog or cat may have a tick bite may not show up for weeks or months. 
  • Lethargy 
  • Limping 
  • Joint Problems 
  • Fever 
  • Limping 
  • Reduced appetite 

Dangers of Flea & Tick Disease 

  • Kidney Problems 
  • Heart & Nervous System Failure 

Tips on ways to avoid fleas and tick bites: 

Chew Treatments

  • New Chewy for dogs and cats – kills fleas and ticks for 12 weeks. Potentially fewer gaps in protection and starts killing fleas and ticks within hours.

Spot-on Treatments 

  • These medications are effective at keeping parasites at bay for up to a month. Be sure to check with your veterinary before starting treatment.   

Oral Medications  

  • Pills that are given once a month are readily available for dogs. These medications can work to kill both ticks and immature fleas and will disrupt the life cycle of fleas. They are easy to give and you won’t have to be concerned about small children and cats coming into contact with dogs immediately after application, as you might with spot-on treatments. 


  • Bathing your dog with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients will generally kill ticks on contact. This can be an inexpensive (though labor-intensive) method of protecting your dog during the peak tick season. You will need to repeat the process more often, about every two weeks, as the effective ingredients won’t last as long as a spot-on or oral medication. 

Tick Dips 

  • A dip is a concentrated chemical that needs to be diluted in water and applied to the animal’s fur with a sponge or poured over the back. This treatment is not intended to be rinsed off after application. The chemicals used in dips can be very strong, so be sure to read the labels carefully before use. You should not use a dip for very young animals (under four months) or for pregnant or nursing pets. Ask your veterinarian for advice before treating puppies, or pregnant or nursing pets. 

 Tick Collars 

  • Collars that repel ticks are an additional preventive you can use, though they are mainly only useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks.  


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