Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tick Season

I've never felt entirely comfortable putting flea and tick protection on my dogs, but my husband and I choose to do it anyway. For one thing, one of my oldest and dearest friends, someone I trust, is a veterinarian in the Midwest, and she believes the benefits outweigh any dangers. Our own vet recommended it. But when we lived up north, it never seemed like a big deal. When we moved southward, to a warmer climate, however, Baxter really suffered. We started calling him "tick bait" because it seemed he was a magnet for any tick that happened to wander into our yard. A couple of times he got them in the tender skin next to his eyes, which was not only painful for him, it left permanent scars.

So we knuckled under and put the stuff on him. Frontline was the one we chose, because if it's tick-repelling properties.

Last weekend, when we visited our friends on the farm, we asked them about ticks. Their dog, Willa, has very short hair that makes it easy to spot ticks. They chose not to put the stuff on her because, they said, "the ticks were coming into the house on her and jumping off to go find us." That is a hazard of Frontline. The ticks land on the dog, looking for a meal. But the stuff, whatever it is, repels the ticks and they depart looking for tastier hosts.

This is a particularly bad year for ticks. It's not even summer and already they're out in force. The other night my husband was sitting, watching TV, with both Baxter and Kirby at his feet. He felt something on his leg. Sure enough, a tick was crawling up his pantleg. Shortly thereafter it happened again.

Now I can't lay down for a nap with the dogs without having the heebie-jeebies all afternoon, certain a tick is on me somewhere. Perhaps I'm a little more sensitive to the idea, having had my Lithuanian tick experience earlier this year.

I can say that I'm happy to say we'll soon be moving back up north. Oh they have ticks, just not legions of them. And whether or not we'll continue with the Frontline is something to ponder.

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