Dear Jeni: What are the different types of ticks that my pet may come in contact with? Heading outside with your pup, or have an outdoor cat? Here's how to keep them safe from ticks in the great outdoors!    

There are two different types of ticks. Hard ticks have a shield on their backs, and when unfed, are flat. These ticks prefer cats and dogs. Soft ticks do not have a shield and are shaped like a raisin. These ticks prefer birds and bats.    

Ticks wait for host animals in shrubs, tall grass, and small plants. When the vegetation has moved the text let go and attach to the host. Ticks DO NOT fly, they can only crawl. If you find a tick on your pet use tweezers or gloves. If neither of these is available use a paper towel; many ticks can pass infectious agents simply through handling. Grasp the tick as close to the surface as possible, pull the tick straight out with even pressure, thoroughly disinfect the area, then wash your hands with soap and water.    

There are several preventatives available in the pet care market. You can purchase medication that needs to be applied monthly or collars that are good for up to eight months. Check with your vet to determine what would be the best fit for your pet.