One of our biggest fears for our dogs is discovering the presence of ticks. Whilst there’s a common misconception that ticks are only a problem in the Summer months, warmer weather has seen a rise in ticks all year round. Here are some of the key things to know about those nasty little parasites.
What are ticks?
Ticks are small, spider-like parasites with sharp biting mouthparts that prey on the skin of animals, mainly dogs. Ticks look like shiny grey peas with a darker head section and small legs that attach to an animal’s skin.
What dangers do ticks pose?
Through the nature of a tick’s blood sucking tendencies, they can transmit a range of infections and diseases including Babesiosis and Lyme Disease, affecting both dogs and their owners. Ticks are most commonly associated with Lyme Disease, an illness that often lies undetected due to symptoms frequently not appearing after the initial bite for up to several weeks.
Ticks tend to inhabit parks, woodland, heathland and even gardens. They are found in long grass and undergrowth, where they wait for animals to pass, clinging onto them before feeding on their blood.
How to spot a tick:
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard we try to prevent it – those ticks just find a way to cling to your beloved pet. Check your dog regularly by thoroughly combing through your dog’s coat, brushing with and against the direction of the hair growth. Be sure to check armpits, groin, behind and inside the ears, around the head, muzzle and neck areas, between toes and pads and other hard to reach places.
How to remove a tick:
The sooner a tick can be removed, the less likely it is that you or your dog can get infected by nasty bacteria. To remove a tick effectively, it’s recommended to buy a tick removal tool, which allows you to twist and lift the tick off of the skin by going underneath its biting mouthparts. It’s important to make sure you remove the tick properly and get the head out, as just pulling at the tick can often leave the nasty bacteria still intact.
When is my dog most in danger from ticks?:
Ticks are most active from the early spring months until the late autumn season. However with milder weather throughout the year, ticks can appear almost all year round.
Specialist spot on medication and collars can be bought to help deter ticks. Every dog is different, so we always recommend speaking to your vet to find out what’s best for your dog.