It's always better to be safe than sorry, and checking your dog from ticks regularly is important. Today we're going to tell you all about the little bugs and answer some most asked questions on how you can spot them and then get rid of them from your dog...
Ticks are very small spider-like, oval shaped bloody sucking pests. They have eight legs, just like spiders, and can vary in size-from 1mm to 1cm.
Ticks are normally found in woodland, grass and heath areas, although if you live near a lot of wildlife you could even find them in your garden. You may find that you come across them if you're near sheep or deer.
They active all year round, but they're mostly common between Spring and Autumn.
Ticks won'y fly or jump on your dog's coat but will drop or climb onto your dog's coat if you brush part the area they're sitting in.
Ticks will cause a disease by transmitting microbes and bacteria when they bite an animal or human. You should always check your dog, or even yourself, after a walk.
How do I know if my Dog has any ticks on them?
They may sound small, but they're big enough to spot. When you get back from a walk run your hands through your dog's coat so you can check for any bumps or lumps. If your dog has a tick it will feel like a small bump on their skin.
The places you should definitely check is their ears, feet, head and neck as this is where they will usually attach themselves, brushing can also really help.
How to remove the ticks
The most important bit; removing them. All ticks carry diseases so it's really important you remove them as soon as possible, if you remove them quicker there's less chance of there being a risk of disease.
Now, to get them off, this part can be tricky. You don't want to squeeze the ticks body as you may allow for it's head to get stuck in your dog's body, as well as expelling blood back into their body.
The best removal method is to twist, it's easiest when you have a tick removing device which can be found in local pet shops, although if you're not sure it's always best to check with your vet.
Why do we need to protect our dogs against ticks?
All a tick does is pass on infections from one animal to another, they feed themselves by biting an animal and then feasting on their blood. This 'process' takes several days, and once they've dont it they'll drop off.
A tick transmits microbes that cause diseases, such as Lyme disease or babesiosis.
If you happen to live in an area where there are lots of ticks it's a good idea to use a tick treatment, this'll either repel ticks or kill them if they attach.
Treatments include spot on treatments, tablets and collars, but again it's best to consult your dog, so you know which ones best for them.
Remember to read the instructions carefully as some treatments are made for certain animals, for example a tick treatment for cats could kill a dog.
What's Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a very serious bacterial infection. Some side effects and odd behaviour you might notice from your dog is them looking depressed or loss of appetite. Other symptoms include fever, lameness, painful and swollen joints, or swollen lymph nodes.
If you notice your dog showing any of this behaviour or symptoms contact your vet immediately, they'll then be able to perform tests and start with treatments.
Babesiosis is actually extremely rare in the UK, in fact the tick that spreads it has only been found in southern England so far.
It can be spread through tick bites, but the incubation period is about two weeks although some dogs may not be diagnosed with the diseases for months, or even years after transmission.
Symptoms you should look for are noticing that they're depressed, have a swollen abdomen or pale gums, and also a fever. They could also gain yellowish skin and lose their appetite.
If you notice any of these above, and you've recently walked in a 'tick-infested' area you should contact your vet and make them aware of the situation. This can be very fatal to dogs so make sure you get it checked out.
Once you know all of this you should be able to avoid any future problem,s we hope we've helped! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask them on our social media!
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