Lyme disease can cause serious, painful symptoms in both humans and animals. Since it can be easily misdiagnosed if there is not a classic bulls-eye rash or obvious tick bite, the symptoms may go on for years. There are several methods to minimize the chance of Lyme disease affecting your household.

Use Traditional Preventative Techniques

Lyme is traditionally carried by ticks and is transmitted to dogs and humans after prolonged tick bites. Fortunately, the most common ticks, dog ticks, are not carriers of Lyme. These ticks are larger and easily seen when grooming animals. The deer tick, which is a Lyme carrier, is much smaller and difficult to see. To help prevent bites from ticks, it is best to use preventative measures, such as the Lyme vaccine. Protect your dog by keeping a regular tick prevention schedule. Your veterinarian can recommend the best products to use, which are usually topical medications and tick collars. For humans, wear insect repellent and tuck your pants legs into your socks if you will go out hiking or in other areas with high grass. Ideally, you should avoid walking through tall grass whenever possible, especially if you live in a high-risk area.

Check Pets

The animals most vulnerable to Lyme disease are dogs, because they typically go outside and will frolic in the grass. Before your dog is let inside, you should do a thorough evaluation of their fur to find ticks, especially on warm days. The process is easier if your dog has a short coat and light-colored fur. For dogs with longer and darker fur, you will need to be more meticulous. Looking through their fur with a flashlight might provide better viewing. If you discover any ticks, you should remove them promptly using tweezers. Grab the tick at its head and pull straight up. The goal is to remove the entire tick promptly. You can keep the tick in a sealed container to show to your veterinarian if you have any concerns. Otherwise, it can be flushed down the toilet for disposal.

Consider Vaccinations

Lyme vaccinations are not required, but can be important for preventing the disease in your dog and people in your household. In many areas, the threat of Lyme disease is low and vaccinating your dog may not be important. If you live in a high-risk area, especially if your dogs goes out in high grass or wooded areas, vaccinating them can give your pet and household a better chance at protection. Even if your dog has been vaccinated, it does not mean you should feel carefree about preventing Lyme disease. Infected ticks may hitch a ride on your dog and pose a danger to humans and other types of pets in your household.

To minimize the risk associated with Lyme disease in you and your pets, preventing tick bites is essential. By remaining vigilant, you can spot problems quickly if they occur.