How to spot a tick and remove it safely
4 CommentsFriday, 2 September 2016 | Kate
What are ticks?
Ticks are parasites which feed on the blood of animals and humans. They can be found on the skin in hard-to-reach areas. Ticks are hard to spot before they start feeding on your dog but common areas are the ears, armpits and groin, between toes and around the eyes and muzzle; they often resemble moles and scabs. Ticks are widely known to be carriers of diseases such as Borreliosis and Lyme disease which affect humans and animals.
How does a tick get on to me or my dog?
Spring time is when ticks become more active as the climate (allegedly) gets warmer. Unlike fleas, ticks do not jump on to a host, they crawl on when we get too close or drop in from high foliage.
Where is my dog likely to come into contact with a tick?
Ticks are usually found in woodland, downland, forests and fields. As they attach themselves to a host; small woodland animals, deer and sheep they are transported to different areas quite easily where they can breed and populate the affected area.
How can I spot a tick?
Ticks feed on the blood of their host (nice!) Before feeding they're very small and hard to notice. Once a tick has fed it will be far easier to spot, resembling a small bean and will usually be seen poking out through the fur (see before and after photo below.) Climate change and new farming techniques mean that tick populations have increased around the UK. Tick-borne diseases are rare in pets but that doesn't mean prevention should decrease.
How do I stop my dog getting ticks?
While not all ticks carry an infectious pathogen the longer ticks are allowed to feed to greater the risk of an infection becomes. To keep ticks away during walks use Skinny Spray before you set out, it contains neem oil which is a naturally occurring compound that repels parasites.
How do I remove a tick if I find one?
If you do find a tick on your dog, cat or yourself use the excellent O'Tom Tick Twister to remove it safely. Don't try using tweezers or your fingernails because you could leave the head or mouth parts in the skin which can become infected.
Where can I find more information on ticks?
Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK (BADA-UK) is a charity that aims to fight the effects of Borreliosis and Lyme disease.
BADA-UK hosts an annual awareness event, Tick Prevention Week each spring. For more information visit tickbitepreventionweek.org