Tick Alert: Why check your dog regularly

April 10, 2024

When warmer spring temperatures arrive, ticks become even more of a problem, so dog owners need to become even more vigilant. Take a look at our article below in which our vet Darren answers FAQs about ticks and the danger they pose to dogs and humans.

Guide to removing a tick safely

Vet Darren answers your Tick FAQs

What exactly are ticks?

Ticks are minuscule arachnids that survive by feeding on the blood of mammals, including our cherished canine friends. Despite their small size, ticks carry substantial health risks for both dogs and their owners.

Why are ticks on dogs so risky?

Darren explains that ticks are more than just a nuisance; they’re carriers of various diseases that can affect both dogs and humans. When a tick attaches to a dog and feeds on their blood, it can transmit pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in dogs include Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. Dogs travelling abroad may also be at risk of contracting ehrlichiosis from ticks, a bacterial infection that affects white blood cells. Though rare in the UK, it could be transmitted by ticks if your dog is travelling to Europe, the USA, or Africa.

Darren shares that ticks are also highly adaptable creatures, capable of thriving in a wide range of environments, from wooded areas to urban parks. This makes it challenging to avoid exposure to ticks, especially for dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors. Additionally, ticks can be difficult to detect, as they often attach themselves to areas of a dog’s body that are hard to see, such as between the toes, inside the ears, or under the tail.

What are the health implications of tick infestations?

Darren wants Teddington dog owners to be aware that tick infestations can have serious health implications for dogs.

Aside from transmitting diseases, ticks can also cause local irritation and inflammation at the attachment site. Some dogs may even exhibit allergic reactions to tick saliva, resulting in symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling.

If left unaddressed, tick-borne diseases can provoke a spectrum of symptoms in dogs, comprising fever, lethargy, lameness, joint pain, and organ damage. In severe instances, untreated tick-borne diseases can lead to fatality. Additionally, specific tick-borne pathogens, like those responsible for Lyme disease, can also infect humans, posing a threat to pet owners and their households.

Ask our team to explain the specific symptoms of Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and also ehrlichiosis if you’re taking your dog abroad.

Can you protect your dog from ticks?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect your dog from ticks and the diseases they carry:

  1. Use tick prevention products: Our vets can advise you about the best tick prevention products for your dog’s individual needs. There are many safe and effective options available, including oral medications, topical treatments, and tick collars.
  2. Perform regular checks: After spending time outdoors, thoroughly check your dog for ticks, paying close attention to areas where ticks are likely to hide such as between the toes, inside the ears, or under the tail. If you find a tick, it’s important to remove it promptly and safely to reduce the risk of disease transmission – download our guide on removing a tick safely here.
  3. Avoid tick-infested areas: When possible, avoid areas where ticks are typically prevalent, such as tall grass, wooded areas, and brushy vegetation. Stick to well-maintained trails and keep your dog on a lead to minimise exposure to ticks.
  4. Keep your garden clear: Keep your garden free from tall grass, leaf litter, and other debris where ticks tend to thrive. Regularly mow your lawn, trim vegetation, and remove potential tick habitats to reduce the risk of infestation.

How to remove a tick safely

If you find a tick on your dog, it’s crucial to remove it properly to minimise the risk of infection. Download our guide on removing a tick safely for step-by-step instructions and helpful tips. With our guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to handle tick removal quickly and effectively, helping to protect your dog’s health and wellbeing. We’re here to help if you have any difficulties with this – call us on 0208 943 2303.

Get our guide to removing a tick safely

By implementing proactive measures to prevent tick infestations and promptly removing any ticks that may attach to your dog, you can safeguard your furry friend and your family from the hazards of tick-borne diseases. If you have any concerns regarding ticks or tick prevention, feel free to contact our helpful team at Alpha Vets without delay.

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