With the onset of Spring, now is the time to tick proof your yard. This is an essential part of protecting Fido and Felicia as well as yourself and the rest of your family from ticks and the diseases they can carry. For Fido and Felicia, tick proofing your yard is one of the essentials to be used alongside an effective tick preventative.
Ticks are usually carried into an area by wildlife. Once they feed on and drop from their current host, ticks try to climb tall grass and shrubs to reach a good launching point for latching onto a new host. Tick proofing your yard comes down to 1) preventing wildlife (deer, mice, raccoon, skunks and other critters) from entering your yard and 2) removing cool, shady launching platforms for ticks to use.
- If you haven’t already done so, consider fencing in your yard or an appropriate area of your yard which works for you, Fido and Felicia.
- The simplest step is to keep your grass short and consistently mowed. Ticks greatly prefer tall grass because it gives them the height they need to latch onto a passing Fido or Felicia and also because tall grass provides shade. Ticks do not like and cannot deal with relatively hot and dry areas such a well mowed yards. If you must miss a mowing period, it’s a good idea to use a bagging attachment the next time you mow. This will remove the shade afforded from letting the longer clippings stay on the grass.
- Don’t forget to trim grass and weeds along fences and property borders. Ticks are not jumpers like fleas and need taller vegetation to snag passing meals.
- Blow yard debris such as fallen leaves, twigs and small branches into piles and remove them. If you have the room, a small fenced area on the edge of your property where you can compost your yard debris is great. The fencing is to keep Fido and Felicia away from the composting area.
- Consider changing mulch types. Ticks are able to travel across shredded mulches. These mulches are relatively cool, damp and provide the ticks with shade as they travel. Our clinic has personal experience with dogs brought in after picking up ticks from walking across shredded mulches. The large wood or bark chip mulches are dry and hot by comparison and ticks will avoid this style mulch.
- If your property is bordered by nature areas, you can create a mulch moat. This is a 3 foot wide mulch strip along the edge of your yard which is bordered by a nature area such as adjacent woods. Do not use moist, shredded mulch. Use the dry, large wood chip type. This kind of dry mulch moat runs too hot for ticks thus making it hostile to any ticks crossing it.
- While spaying your yard with a chemical spray is an option, whole yard spraying is not recommended. This is because all pesticides are dangerous to Fido and Felicia and must be used very carefully to avoid problems. Fido and Felicia don’t wear protective shoes or clothing and both will lick their paws. Don’t take chances with possible poisonings, Instead, keep application of such pesticides limited to border areas and areas inaccessible to Fido and Felicia. A good place to apply pesticides is on the far side of a chain link so long as that’s not into your neighbors yard! Carefully read and follow all instructions for the pesticide you’re using.
It’s a good idea to periodically check for ticks by doing what is called a tick drag. This is nothing more than tying a 6 inch swatch of fabric to a 2 foot stick and dragging the swatch along tall grass or weeds. Ticks will often latch onto the swatch thus confirming their presence.