Ticks are around all year, but they’re most likely to be found in spring and autumn. They have 8 legs, can look a bit like spiders and feed by sucking blood from other animals. They range between 1mm and 1cm, depending on the stage of their life cycle and how recently they have fed. Ticks like to live in woodland and long grass, where they climb or drop onto your dog as it brushes past them. They can carry diseases such as Lyme’s so it’s important we know what to look for and how to remove them from our dogs.
Can I stop my dog getting ticks?
There are treatments available that can reduce your dog’s chance of getting ticks, including spot ons, tablets and collars that repel and/or kill ticks. However, we are aware that there are concerns about chemicals from some of these treatments getting into freshwater systems and damaging these delicate habitats. We suggest talking to your vet about the options available and what will be best for your dog.
How can I avoid ticks?
Ticks don’t jump or fly, they climb up grass or trees and wait until their lunch brushes past. One of the best and easiest ways to reduce the chances of getting them is to stay on established paths. Your dog will still have plenty to sniff and enjoy, but they won’t be quite such an easy target for the ticks. This has the added benefit of letting the birds and wildlife feed and rest undisturbed.
How can I check if my dog has a tick?
Ticks will usually attach themselves to your dog’s head, neck, ears and feet. As soon as you get home from your walk, check your dog all over. Run your hands over your dog, feeling for any small lumps and bumps (your dog will love this extra fussing session!). Remember that ticks can start off very small before they’ve fed, so it’s worth checking your dog for a couple of days in case you’ve missed any.
My dog has a tick – how can I get it off?
Some people suggest burning ticks off, or using things like Vaseline or nail varnish remover to suffocate ticks, but these come with other risks such as the tick burrowing deeper. Here are our suggestions for safe effective tick removal:
Don’t squeeze it, as this can push blood back into your dog and increase the risk of infection. Use a tick removal tool rather than your fingers as you need to make sure you get the whole tick out, if the head is left in that is another infection risk. There are several types of tools but most are either ‘hooks’ or ‘cards’. We give away tick cards at our events, so keep an eye on our events page. You can also buy tick tools from pet shops, vets and online. If the tick is close to your dog’s eye, or if it is infected, seek vet advice.
First wash your hands and around the area. Then part your dog’s fur to locate the tick and so your card or hook will be flush against your dog’s skin.
Using a Card:
- Slip the notch of the tick card under the tick.
- Gently push the card forward and upward with steady, even pressure.
3. Allow the tick to let go and pull it out slowly.
Using a Hook:
- Slip the tick hook under the tick.
- Gently twist clockwise several times until the tick becomes loose.
- When the tick feels loose pull it slowly upwards.
In a pinch, if you don’t have a removal tool to hand you can use tweezers to remove a tick.
- Grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible.
- Pull the tick straight upward without twisting or crushing it.
- Hold with a steady pressure until the tick releases its grip.
Afterwards, wrap the tick in tissue paper, pop it and flush it down the toilet and clean the area with an antiseptic wipe (remember to wash your hands afterwards too).
With these few simple tips, you and your dog can enjoy lots of wonderful walks in the lovely spring and summer weather. If you’re looking for ideas on where to take your dog, check out our “where to walk” section of our website Where to walk – Coast and Country Canines.