What are ticks?
Ticks are blood sucking parasites which can temporarily attach to dogs and cats when they come into contact with them outside (for example in long grass and in rural woodland areas).
Infestation is more common in dogs than in cats and is highly seasonal. For example, in the UK and Central Europe there are historically two peaks: the first from March to June and the second from August to November. However climate change is tending to extend this seasonal activity.
Causing a range of diseases, ticks act as vectors of diseases which affect pets and, sometimes, pet owners. Ticks can transmit bacteria, viruses and other parasitic infections as well as feeding on blood (which, in heavy infestation, could lead to anaemia, especially in young animals).
Keep watchful! Popular places for ticks to hide are on and in the ears, between toes and in armpits, stomach and tail areas. Regularly examine your pet's coat thoroughly and, if a tick is found, it can then be most reliably removed using a proprietary tick-removal device. Dispose of ticks responsibly using a sealed plastic bag.
Speak to your vet or SQP for advice about preventing and controlling tick infestations. Various anti-parasitic agents can be applied in a manner best suited to your pet. Effective tick management can help prevent discomfort and disease in your pets.
WARNING: Never squeeze or puncture an attached tick. Always ensure that tick removal is carried out using a correct device and if in doubt, go to your vet. Incorrect removal of ticks may cause wound infection or for diseases to be passed to your pet.
Key preventative measures
It is important to check your pet regularly for ticks. Ticks can also bite and transmit diseases to humans so be sure, when checking your pet for ticks, to also check yourself.
- To search for ticks on your pet, run your hands all over the body, paying close attention to the ears, neck, skin folds and other crevices.
- Especially check your pet after exposure to woodland areas, long grass or moorland.
- You can use specially-designed tick removal tools to safely remove attached ticks.
- Be very careful not to squeeze or puncture the body of the tick as this may cause infections and diseases to enter your pet’s bloodstream.
- Ticks may drop off pets indoors and so you should always thoroughly clean household areas.
- It is important to regularly treat all pets in the same household to prevent reinfestation where there is a risk of tick exposure.
- Ticks are most commonly found during the spring and autumn, however, in some more cool or moist areas, ticks can be found throughout the summer months and so pet owners should remain vigilant.
One of the most effective ways to keep ticks off your pet is to apply a tick prevention product.
With the proper knowledge, you can protect your dog, your family and yourself from the dangers of tick-borne diseases.