• Tick Prevention

    I think most of us would agree our pets are just as much a member of the family as our children are. It is important to us to keep them safe and healthy and we would do just about anything to make sure that they are feeling their best. This commitment really comes to the forefront during flea and tick season. Having dogs at a cottage comes with an increased risk. My dogs love running around and enjoying the freedom of spending summer days outside, however, like you I worry about what hides in the grass.

    Ticks seem to be a universal worry for pet owners. Ticks can carry diseases which can be a great detriment to our beloved four-legged family members. According to petsandparasites.org, the most common diseases carried by ticks are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The most important thing to remember during tick season is prevention. There is no need to worry about your pet getting sick if you have taken preventative measures. Here are a few tips you can use this summer to help keep your pet healthy and happy:

    Talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to provide you with helpful resources, such as tick prevention treatments. You should ask your vet if your pet is eligible for the Lyme disease vaccine. They may also help ease your anxiety. As prevalent as many of us think Lyme disease spreading ticks are, only 2.32% of dogs tested for Lyme disease have tested positive thus far this year in the research provided by petsandparasites.org. Your vet can also provide you with the tools to help you spot a tick and safe removal. Beyond what information and tools your vet may provide you with, we highly recommend doing independent research. Monthly flea and tick treatments as well as pesticide treatments for your lawn are not the only way to protect your animals. We highly recommend looking into holistic options which can be used on a more regular basis. If you do find what you believe to be a tick on your pet, keep it in a closed container and take it to your vet. They can confirm whether or not it actually is a tick, and whether that tick is carrying a disease.

    Be aware of your environment. Ticks live in grass. They cannot jump and do not live in trees. If you are taking your dog for walks in areas which are primarily grass-covered or have patches of tall grass, it is important to inspect your dog at the end of the walk. The map below shows areas of increased risk for Lyme disease carrying black-legged ticks. However, Public Health Ontario wants to remind you there is a low probability of finding ticks in any compatible environment

     

     

    Know what you’re looking for. In Ontario, the main cause for concern is the black-legged tick which may also be referred to as a deer tick. The deer tick is very small, ranging from 3mm to 10mm depending on how well fed it is. They are dark brown in colour, yet this is also subject to change depending what stage of feeding they are in, and do not have any sort of distinct patterning on their back. All of the ticks in the image below from Health Canada are deer ticks in different stages. All carry the same risk to your pet.

     

    It is also important to remember ticks can be dangerous to humans to. If you suspect your health is suffering due to a tick bite, it is important to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Following these tips should help keep your pet safe this summer. Now you are prepared to get out there and enjoy the beautiful Canadian outdoors.

     

  • Water Safety

    There might not be anything better than spending the summer by the water, whether that be the lake, ocean or your backyard pool, nothing beats it. With the draw and fun of summer and water, many of us seem to forget the dangers that come along with entertainment and relaxation. Sadly, drownings happen every year and are a leading cause of death in children. Rather than avoiding water all summer long in an attempt to keep you and your family safe, it is important instead to take all appropriate precautions to ensure your safety and enjoyment.

    It is completely understandable for children not to want to wear lifejackets. They can be bulky, uncomfortable, and embarrassing when there are older kids who are not forced to follow this rule. However, lifejackets can make a huge difference in situations of life or death. Children should always have lifejackets on when going for a boat ride. Ideally, everyone in the boat should have a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified lifejacket on. I will admit, I started foregoing the lifejacket rule when I was about 13. For adults and older children, by law, you need to have a lifejacket or PFD for every passenger on board and these should be accessible in case of emergency. When fitting children for lifejackets, they should fit rather snuggly and should not rise up into the child’s face when you lift it. Those that are ill fitting will not work properly when you need them to.

    The rule in my house has always been to use the buddy system when in the water. No one in my family was allowed to go in the water without someone supervising – even my father. This may seem a touch dramatic, I certainly thought it was, now I see why it was enforced so unquestionably. Even the most experience swimmer is not indefensible to panic in dangerous situations. In a perfect world, the supervising individual should be CPR trained and know what to do in drowning scenarios. While this may not be possible in every situation, the supervisor should still be able to do something to help the potential drowning victim. Minimally, they should be able to jump in and bring the drowning individual to shore, then call for someone who is able to provide life-saving help. If the opportunity arises to take a CPR training course, I wouldn’t turn it down, it could be the difference between life and death and will better prepare you to help save a family member or friend if need be.

    An ever-important reminder for the adult summertime waterfront residents and visitors is to keep “water on the water, beer on the pier.” Alcohol is just as dangerous on the water as it is on the road and carries the same legal repercussions. While the draw of a “booze cruise” is rather enticing it increases the risk level when you add an element which has the potential to decrease the decision-making and physical capacities of partakers. Even if the captain of your boat is not drinking, passengers could easily interfere with and distract the driver, or worst case, fall overboard and suffer from potentially serious and life-threatening injuries. A beer, cocktail or glass of wine may seem like the perfect addition to your summer day on the water, but it is not worth the potential repercussions. If you’re on or around the water, stick with water; safety first so you can have more fun later!

    Keeping yourself, your family and friends safe this summer is easier than it seems. Remember the tips you’ve read today but also your common sense. Many accidents are avoidable as long as we practice safety and stay aware of our surroundings. It was a long, cold winter; so get out there and enjoy the water, do deserve it!