When looking at your property to create safe recreational spaces for the humans in your household, be sure to figure your pets into the overall plan. When pets jump into tall grass, leaf litter, or brush, they can pick up hitchhiking ticks.
And, these bugs could either bite (and possibly infect) the animal, or simply hang on until they get back into the house and attach to you or a family member.
If you create a tick-safe zone for your pets, you are increasing your defenses against ticks – both for your pets and for your family.
A crucial element of building tick-safe zones is a fence. Of course, putting up a fence will not necessarily keep your indoor/outdoor cat within the property boundaries, because a feline tends to do whatever a feline wants to do. But a solid fence will keep your dog out of the tick habitats on your property – which goes a long way in maintaining as tick-free a home as possible.
The two basic options for fencing are physical and invisible fencing.
There are a number of advantages of physical fencing – both tick-related and not – that could influence your decision-making process. A tangible fence:
- Keeps pets in and wildlife out
- Does not require much (if any) pet training
- Makes playing in the yard safer for younger children
However, there are some disadvantages, as well. A physical fence:
- Requires a lot of work to build – either in sweat and labor or in stress from getting estimates and deciding on a builder
- Takes time and is inconvenient to build
- Could be moderately to very expensive
- Requires some upkeep once it is built (e.g. removing debris, etc.) to ensure that the areas near the fence remain tick-resistant
- Could limit the landscaping or other property configuration possibilities in the future
An invisible fence is another pet containment possibility. This method involves burying wires or installing wireless sensors around the perimeter of the property. This creates a virtual barrier that, if the dog crosses it, will warn with a sound and then mildly shock the dog via the collar that comes with the fence kit.
While it sounds fairly easy and straightforward, an invisible fence comes with its own plusses and minuses.
The advantages of this type of fencing include:
- Relatively easy to install
- Significantly less expensive than a physical fence
- Keeps the property open to future changes in configuration or landscaping
There are also a number of disadvantages to using an invisible fence. This type of fence:
- Will not keep wildlife that transport ticks out of the property
- Will require some pet training that may or may not be successful
- Will not prevent children (especially young ones) from veering into the tick habitats on the property
While the type of fence you choose will depend on your budget, your household, your lifestyle, and the plans you have for the future of your property, keep one important thing in mind:
Do something to keep your pets out of tick habitats, if at all possible. When you combine containment measures with repellent or other vet treatments, you will have the best possible strategy for protecting both your pets and your family from tick bites.