WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Local vet clinics and pest stores are seeing a lot of people bring their pets in for ticks recently.

Because Texas winters aren’t long enough or cold enough to kill the bug, ticks and fleas will be around all the time. That’s pet owners should always check their animals, dogs in particular, for the blood-sucking parasite.

Summertime is the perfect time for man’s best friend to roam the wonders that nature has to offer. But if owners aren’t too careful, ticks could infiltrate their dog and put their health on the decline.

“Even if your dog or cat lives inside, they still go outside, we go outside, we bring things home, things happen. So, your dog or cat are at risk if they’re not on a preventative year-round,” P.E.T.S. Clinic CEO Leslie Harrelson said.

Because cats groom themselves, dogs are the main pets that can bring back the pest. Spring and summer are when clinics like P.E.T.S. see the most cases of ticks and pest control businesses like shoop’s see a lot of customers looking for tick prevention.

“Everybody needs to keep their grass cut normal. Don’t let your grass get tall. Period. If by chance people can prevent stray animals from running through the yard that’s another big thing,” Shoop’s Texas Termites’ David Shoop said.

If pets bring ticks into the house, they can affect you too.

“The longer it goes untreated it becomes a problem. Once you start having joint pain, fevers, malaise, thise type of things. When those things start manifesting, it’s been there long enough that it’s going to be a chronic issue at that point,” Lee Ackley said.

As the summer continues, officials say prevention is the best way to stop an infestation before it starts.

And to look for these signs when looking on your pets or on yourself.

“Really check in between the toes, in between the pads of their feet, in their ears. The gumline is a place that people forget to check. They typically will see the ones on the body, but those little tiny seed ticks that just look like brown spots on your dogs will suck your dog dry before you know it,” Harrelson said.

“You get bit by a tick, you have a rash. If we catch it early, simple treatment with doxycycline fixes the problem, you don’t ever have to worry about it,” Ackley said.

Tips to keep you and your most beloved animal happy and healthy.

More information on the P.E.T.S. Clinic.

More information on Shoop’s Texas Termites.