SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring has officially sprung, and that means tick season.
They're creepy, crawly, and they can carry some pretty gnarly diseases.
The warmer weather means you and your dog are probably spending a lot more time outside.
When you're out enjoying the sun, however, make sure you're keeping in mind the threat of ticks.
Nathan Van Vlaenderen and his dog Romeo were enjoying the beautiful day at the dog park.
"I have to get him exercised, that's the biggest thing," he said.
But lurking all around the Inland Northwest are ticks.
"Once you get out of the dog park more on the hiking trails and things like that, they're definitely more customary," Nathan said. "It's definitely time to start finding them. I found one on him the other day, so it's definitely that season."
At Liberty Lake Veterinary Center, they're seeing countless ticks on dogs.
"We've been pulling ticks off of dogs since April," said Dr. Katherine Alley. "We have our jar of ticks here we've been keeping to show people."
And they're not just gross to look at. These critters can carry some serious diseases.
"Lyme disease is prevalent in the western states, so we worry about that," Dr. Alley explained. "It can cause joint problems. It can cause life long problems if not treated early. And then Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is also seen out here. It causes undulating fever, it takes a long treatment of antibiotics."
So how do you know your dog might have ticks?
"The biggest warning signs I would say is where does your pet go, and do you see deer?" Dr. Alley said. "If you are seeing deer in your backyard and your pet is not treated with a tick medication, it's extremely likely your pet has ticks."
Check your dog if you go hiking, or the dog walks through tall grass.
And remember, it's not just pets that can get sick.
"The vast majority of diseases carried by ticks, people can get them, too," Dr. Alley said. "If your dog is sleeping in your bed, you definitely want to be treating your dog with flea and tick preventative [medication]."
She recommends treating your dog with either Front Line or Next Guard medication.
Nathan says he has tricks to keep he and Romeo safe.
"My biggest thing is actually carrying a lint roller with me so as we're going through especially for myself too because they're so small, so I normally run it over him too he loves it or bring his brush," he said.
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