It’s going to be a bad spring for ticks and fleas

DEAR JOAN: I came home from a 5-mile hike in the hills above Milpitas and found a hitchhiking tick.

I had brushed up against some tall weeds along the road and that was all it took. They seem to have sensing ability to know when a victim is nearby using heat or motion.

This could be a very bad year and you should remind your readers to watch the doggies.

Keith Scott, Bay Area

DEAR KEITH: Thanks for the alert. Experts say that the wet, warm winter we had is creating another boom season for ticks and fleas. The good news for us, sort of, is that the forecast for a hotter, drier summer should mean we see fewer ticks and fleas at the height of the season.

Meanwhile, here are some tips for keeping your pets tick and flea free, or at least free-ish.

  • Talk to your vet about using medications to keep fleas and ticks off your pets.
  • If you’d rather not go the artificial chemical route, there are natural things that work. Bathing your pet in a diluted apple cider vinegar bath can help repel ticks and fleas. Lavender, lemongrass, geranium, peppermint and citronella also can keep fleas out of your yard, and putting a drop of lemon or rosemary oil on your dog’s collar also works. You just need to refresh these natural repellents frequently for the best outcome.
  • Bathe your dog with a tick and flea shampoo after walks. You also should comb your pet’s coat once a day to remove any of those unwelcome hitchhikers.
  • To help keep fleas and ticks out of your yard, keep your lawn mowed, your shrubs trimmed and weeds pulled. You also can use food-grade diatomaceous earth outside the house in areas where fleas and ticks might congregate.
  • Now is the time to treat for ticks and fleas, but at least some of the little critters are around all year, meaning it’s an ongoing concern.
  • Don’t pinch pennies when it comes to pet medications and treatments. If you have outdated products, get rid of them and get some new ones. Older products lose their effectiveness.
  • It’s important to protect your dogs and cats, but don’t share their medications. Tick and flea treatments are specifically designed for each type of animal, and dog products can contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats.

DEAR JOAN: Regarding the letter about the overnight disappearance of the Easter cookies, the answer is obvious. It was the Easter Bunny! I am sure he was very grateful, and I hope that it becomes a new tradition. After all, why should only Santa get all the cookies?

C.M., Richmond

DEAR C.M.: Genius.

DEAR JOAN: The night before Valentine’s Day, I baked several giant individualized cookies for my family and left them on the table to cool. They were all gone in the morning and no one thanked me, which rankled.

Finally, I asked them pointedly, “Did you like your cookie?” and they answered. “What cookie?” Then our Labrador retriever crawled out from under the table looking exceedingly guilty. Mystery solved.

Carol Alonso, Orinda

DEAR CAROL: Dogs would never make it as international jewel thieves. One look and they give everything away. Cats, on the other hand, are masters at keeping secrets while never admitting wrongs.

Source: mercurynews
It’s going to be a bad spring for ticks and fleas