The clocks turn forward, the trees start to green up, the days seem longer — the signs of warmer months are upon us, and spring and summer are, thankfully, on their way. This is an excellent time of year for us all (unless, maybe, you live in Arizona), and our Dobermans and dachshunds are sure to agree. With all the loveliness of getting outside, there is an unfortunate downside: the bugs.

Mosquitos, ticks (which aren’t technically insects, but you get the idea), fleas, and flies all tend to have just as much fun as we do in the summer, which can have some negative implications for your pet — and for you as well. In some instances, the illnesses or diseases that your pet is facing can end up affecting your health. Galaxy Diagnostics offers pathogen testing for a number of diseases that aren’t normally tested for when you simply visit urgent care for the third time. Our pathogen testing covers a variety of bases, including Bartonella testing, rickettsia testing, Borrelia testing, and so much more. Order tests from Galaxy Diagnostics to hopefully start getting some answers — and in the meantime, take a look at some best practices for keeping animals safe this summer!

Why take extra precaution?

Of course, it makes sense that we want to keep our animals safe, so that they may have a long and happy (and healthy) life. Not to mention, taking preventative measures now means likely having to spend less in the future on more extensive treatment options. Yet one of the other main reasons we should be working towards keeping our animals safe lies in our own safety. As we’ve talked about in previous posts, animal-transmitted diseases can be extremely serious and dangerous to humans, and — if the horrifying stats on the Black Plague have taught us anything — have also wreaked havoc on humankind.

With that in mind, you’re probably either frantically reaching for the hand sanitizer or looking suspiciously at your adorable yellow lab. Fear not, because there are plenty of ways you can prevent your pet (and yourself) from running into medical issues.

Take care of your lawn.

Ticks tend to love long grasses and shadier areas — which is why you should always dress properly and check yourself accordingly when you spend time in the woods. By keeping a nice, trim lawn, you’re allowing for more sunlight to come in. Additionally, a shorter-cut lawn dries out your yard a bit more, and makes it harder for grass to retain moisture. This can discourage ticks, and also fleas, from hanging around.

As a quick aside, keep in mind that chemical sprays and pesticides can be harmful to pets and humans as well. Even if this doesn’t result in a disease transmitted from an animal, it’s important to consider when looking to have a safe lawn for everyone.

Protect the perimeter.

As Pets.WebMD explains, living near a wooded area or forest can make it easier for ticks to get into your space. By placing a gravel or wood-chip border that’s about 3-feet wide around the perimeter of your place, this can make it much more difficult for ticks to gain access to your yard. Similarly, train your pets not to go past the border, and you won’t have to worry as much about them getting affected by some of these little critters.

Talk to your vet about topical treatments.

There are a number of flea and tick treatments you can put on your dog and cat that could help protect them from getting bit. These treatments, such as Advantage, work to repel harmful insects. See what your veterinarian recommends for your furriest family member!

Check your pet.

Every day that your pet is outside in the summer, you should be checking them thoroughly to look for any ticks, fleas, or bite marks. If you find a tick, here’s what the Humane Society recommends you do to take care of it:

  1. Clean and sanitize a pair of tweezers, and put gloves on.
  2. Get as close to the skin as possible, and pull the tick straight out.
  3. Place the tick into a sealed jar with isopropyl alcohol, and mark the date — if your dog seems to be getting sick, your veterinarian might want to test the tick.
  4. Clean your dog’s wound with antiseptic, and clean and sanitize the tweezers once more.
  5. Observe your dog’s behavior; if they start exhibiting any symptoms, take them to the vet.

Summer is truly one of the greatest times of year, and it should absolutely be enjoyed. Even though there are risks involved with your pet and your own health, this is a season to have fun, and not worry. And fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to protect your pet (and yourself, too).

If you end up feeling like you might have contracted something from your animal, you can order pathogen testing from Galaxy Diagnostics to help provide you with the answers you’re looking for. You might test positive for Bartonella or Borrelia, or you might not  — but either way, you’ll know more about what’s going on with how you’re feeling than you did before. Our pathogen testing center is here to help you learn more about animal-transmitted diseases, contact us today or peruse our site to get more information (and be sure to order test kits from Galaxy Diagnostics!)