March 25th, 2021 by
The week of the 22nd March is Tick Bite Awareness week in the UK, and with the warmer weather quickly approaching it’s always a good time to brush up on your knowledge of ticks, what they are and how to remove them!
What are Ticks?
Ticks are small parasites that live by feeding on the blood of a ‘host,’ in this case our pet pooches! Ticks can pick up diseases from one host and then pass it onto another, which is why ticks are so concerning. Lyme disease can be carried by ticks in the UK, which affects muscle and nerve cells – something I’m sure we don’t want our beloved pets to have to go through! Ticks are usually oval-shaped, small and flat when unfed – once they feed from their host and become engorged with blood, they can grow to be the size of a coffee bean and are more round in shape. To distinguish between a growth or wart on your dog, ticks have a narrower attachment to the body, and just above the skin, you will be able to see the little legs of the tick.
How do I find ticks?
Ticks are typically found in the warmer summer months; however, they can be around all year so it is useful to get into a routine of checking your dog regularly throughout the year. Ticks are predominantly found in woodlands and fields, ticks latch onto your dog as they are running through the undergrowth and long grass, etc.
Ticks can attach to any part of your dog’s body, however, there are some areas where they tend to be most attracted to, these include, the dog’s chest, head, ears, legs and armpits. If your dog has long hair, it may be more difficult to spot, so the best way to check if your pooch has any ticks is to run your hands over their body, as close to the skin as you can – feeling for any small and unusual lumps.
How do I remove ticks?
If you do find a tick on your pooch, you will need a tick removal tool. These are readily available on the internet for a very reasonable price and are a must-have for any doggy first aid kit you may have. If you have never used a tick removal tool before, it should come with instructions, or you could watch a video online, or even ask your vet for a demonstration.
If you have a removal tool and feel confident enough to use it, it is actually pretty simple. You slide the pronged end of the tool under the tick (against the skin) and twist anti-clockwise until the tick simply drops off! It’s important to remove a tick in this way as opposed to just pulling it out because pulling a tick out often leaves the head embedded in your dog’s skin, which can then lead to infection if not removed properly.
It is important to remove ticks as soon as possible after they have latched on, as the sooner you remove them the less likely they are to spread the disease.
Can I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
There are many ways you can prevent your pup from getting ticks so do not fear! Your vet may offer a monthly plan which provides you with flea and tick treatments – these are often in tablet form or a spot-on treatment that deters ticks. There is also a range of tick and flea collars available that your dog simply wears and slowly releases an active ingredient into your dog’s skin to repel ticks before they even have a chance to latch onto your dog.
For those of us who prefer to keep our dog’s bodies as natural as possible, there are now a number of natural tick repellents on the market, which are either in herb form that you can sprinkle over your dog’s food or in a spray. A homemade tick repellent can be made very easily, using one-part water to two parts white vinegar mixed up in a spray bottle and sprayed over your dog’s coat. Ticks will be repelled by the smell of the vinegar alone, however, adding a couple of spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil will further deter ticks as they contain sulphur which is highly effective to keep those nasty ticks away!
Leave a reply
Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required