Ticks are spider-like, egg-shaped, blood-sucking creepy crawlies. They have eight legs and vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long. Adult ticks look a bit like small spiders. Ticks are common in woodland, grassland and heath areas, but can also be found in your garden if you live in an area with lots of wildlife. You are most likely to come across them in areas with lots of deer or sheep. You are most likely to come across ticks between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year. Ticks don’t fly or jump, but climb or drop on to your dog’s coat when you brush past the area they are sitting in.
Ticks can cause disease by transmitting bacteria and microbes when they bite an animal or human. They are common in woodland, grass and heath areas. Always check your dog and yourself after walks and remove them quickly.
How to spot ticks
Ticks are big enough to spot. Run your hands over your dog’s body when you get back from a walk to check for any lumps or bumps. A tick will feel like a small bump on your pet’s skin.
They tend to attach themselves to areas around a dog’s head, neck, ear and feet. Brushing also helps to remove them.
Ticks vary in size between 1mm and 1cm long, depending on their age. They look like tiny spiders with a whitish, egg-shaped body. This body becomes larger and darker as it fills with blood.
How to remove a tick safely
Ticks carry diseases, so it’s important to remove any that attach themselves to your dog as soon as possible. Rapid removal lessens the risk of disease. This can be tricky, as you need to be careful not to squeeze the tick’s body, or allow its head to get stuck inside your dog. Squeezing a tick’s body can cause it to expel blood back into your dog, increasing the risk of infection. Twisting them off your dog is the best removal method, and pet shops sell handy tick-removal devices to make this easier. Ask your vet for advice.
Do not simply brush, scrape or pull the tick forcibly off the skin. This can lead to the tick’s probe breaking off under the surface of the skin and leading to a range of potential infections and problems.
Do not just leave the tick alone for your pet to deal with.
Do not remove the tick with bare hands or your fingernails- ticks can spread diseases and infections such as Lyme disease, which both you and your pet may be vulnerable to.
Do not attempt to burn or singe the tick off.
Do not spray the tick with an insecticide or toxin.
Do not use alcohol to remove a tick, nor attempt to suffocate the tick using a layer of Vaseline or soap.
How to protect your dog from ticks
Ticks are very good at passing on infections from one animal to another. They feed by biting an animal and feastin
g on blood. This may take several days. Once they have had enough, they drop off. Ticks transmit microbes that cause diseases, such as Lyme disease and babesiosis. Check your dog's body for ticks when you come back from a walk. Brushing their fur will also help. If you live in an area with ticks, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available and it’s best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet. Read the instructions very carefully as some treatments are for dogs only and can be very dangerous to cats and can even kill them.