A lot of us have seen a tick on our furry friends and we’re sure everyone will agree that they look revolting. They are an increasing problem in the UK, as a recent study showed that 1 in 3 dogs are infested with ticks.1
How dogs pick up ticks
Ticks can live anywhere in the UK: forests, grassy areas, urban parks and even in your back garden… all of which dogs love when it comes to strolling or exploring the great outdoors, and at this time of year, humidity and mild weather provide ticks with perfect conditions to go out in force and find a host before the winter comes!
Ticks get on top of vegetation and wave their forelimbs in the air, waiting for a host (your dog!) to brush past so they can hitch a ride - this behaviour is called questing. They then find a cosy place, attach to the skin with their mouthparts and start feeding on blood.
A tick questing on grass
Ticks are small but dangerous
Ticks can be as small as a sesame seed before they start feeding but that does not mean they are a small problem. The real problem with ticks is that they can transmit serious diseases to both pets and humans.
In fact, they are only second to mosquitoes in transmitting infectious diseases.2 They act as little time bombs as the longer they feed on your dog, the higher the risk of disease transmission if the tick is already infected. Shockingly, a survey found 47% of dog owners don't know that ticks can spread diseases to both pets and humans!3
Tick attached to a dog
The main tick-borne diseases that can affect dogs are Lyme disease, and babesiosis which can be fatal. Lyme disease is a growing concern as the number of cases has increased by more than 5 times in 6 years4 so it’s crucial to protect our four-legged friends.
Tick prevention for dogs: here are our top tips
1. Treat your dog for ticks regularly all year round. Not all flea products kill ticks as well so make sure the one you use does! FRONTLINE® Plus and FRONTLINE® Spot On kill both fleas and ticks so can be a great choice.
2. Check your dog regularly for ticks, paying close attention to areas where the fur is thinner such as their tummy, head and ears, as these are preferred spots for ticks to attach.
3. If you find a tick (yuk!), remove it carefully using a tick remover such as the FRONTLINE PET CARE Tick Remover. Avoid pulling or squeezing the tick as this can increase the risk of disease transmission. Check out how Daisy gets on tackling ticks on Barnaby in our video:
This is the last of Daisy and Barnaby this season! If you have missed their flea adventures, you can catch up at: www.k9magazine.com/how-to-tell-if-your-dog-has-fleas
1. Abdullah et al. (2016) Parasite & Vectors 9:391 2. Beugnet F. (2013) Guide to Vector Borne Diseases of Pets. Lyon, France: Merial 3. Research carried out online by Censuswide between 14/04/2015 and 17/04/2015 amongst a panel resulting in 1006 respondents UK dog owners 4. PDSA Pet Hospitals data 2009-2015, suspected and confirmed cases