These are ten facts you may not know about ticks that may come in handy in the future to further protect your best buds!
1. Ticks are most abundant in the UK from April to October (although bites can occur all year round) and are most prevalent in rural locations such as forests, woods and grassland, but can be active in urban parklands and gardens.
2. Ticks bite animals and humans to feed on the blood they need to stay alive.
3. Tick saliva contains an anaesthetic which means you and your dog won’t feel the bite.
4. Some ticks can live up to a year without a meal.
5. Ticks don’t fly or jump. Instead, they drop from low vegetation or climb on as an animal or person brushes by their resting plants.
6. Ticks like warm places on the body like the groin, armpits and scalp. The back of the knee, waist and buttocks are also favourite blood-sucking spots.
7. In dogs, ticks like ears, armpits, stomachs and anywhere the fur is thin.
8. A female tick can lay up to 3,000 eggs at a time.
9. There are over 20 tick species in the UK and over 800 worldwide.
10. Ticks can carry and transmit more than one disease simultaneously, in the UK Lyme disease is the most common.
No ticks but your dog is still scratching? Find out more reasons here: Why is My Dog Itching and Scratching? – The Basics
How Dogs Get Ticks
Ticks predominantly hang about in fields, pasture and woods. Anywhere they will find a passing host: deer, sheep, foxes….your dog.
Given half a chance, a tick will latch on to your dog, break through the skin and start to feed on their blood. Ticks go for thin fur and exposed skin so pay particular attention to armpits, groin, abdomen, lower legs, under the chin, on the face and in the ears.
If the tick is carrying disease, it will be passed on through their saliva into your dog’s bloodstream. The longer the tick feeds for, the greater the chance of passing it on: Babesiosis in this case.
Once the Babesia canis parasite, has entered your dog’s bloodstream it will get into the cells. The dog’s own defences will attack the parasite to kill it but will actually start to destroy their own blood cells in the process. So your dog becomes anaemic very quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of Babesiosis
The symptoms of Babesiosis in dogs to look out for include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, red urine and fever. A serious problem is that Babesia can be mistaken for other less dangerous diseases.
Get your dog to the vet asap if you suspect something is wrong and mention babesiosis, where you have been walking your dog and if you have removed any ticks recently or seen any bites on your dog. If you do remove a tick and have the presence of mind, bag them up and freeze them. Take them with you to the vet for testing.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Bitten by a Tick
For those seeking a natural prevention route with no strong pesticides from Advocate or Stronghold etc., it’s easy. Follow these simple steps to prevent ticks from jumping on in the first place using our tried and tested neem-based products.
1. Daily: Use Skinny Spray daily before a walk. Spray it on your dog, especially on the areas where fur is particularly thin: groin, armpits, just inside the ears etc. as ticks love those easy-to-reach spots. This will help stop ticks from jumping on board and feeding on your dog.
2. Long term: Put your dog on Billy No Mates herbal flea, tick and mite treatment. It takes up to six weeks to get properly into the system, but anything hopping on will either hop off again or die once it’s in. It’s brilliant stuff.
3. As and when: Wash your dog in Skinny Shampoo, leave it on for up to ten minutes, then rinse off. It kills and deters fleas, ticks, mites and lice. This will help protect your dog while the Billy kicks in.
What to Do if You Find a Tick on Your Dog
Remove the tick properly and safely.
Check your dog after a walk. If you do see a tick, you must remove it properly and get the whole tick. There are only two ways of doing this: Using a pair of fine medical tweezers (not eyebrow tweezers) or an O’Tom Tick Twister. Doing it incorrectly can leave mouth parts behind in your dog’s skin. See our Tick Twister page for a video showing the correct way to remove a tick.
- Wear gloves to remove a tick in case of Lyme disease
- Remove the tick using a Tick Twister or fine tweezers
You can remove them naturally: Neem – Natural Parasite Killer
Now treat the bite area
- If the tick site is bleeding make it bleed a little more by squeezing, the way you would if you cut yourself
- Wash the bite site thoroughly
- Spray Skinny Spray onto the bite area and rub it right in. Do that a couple of times a day for a few days. The neem will also help prevent infection.
- Watch your dog for any signs and symptoms (see above)
- Kill the tick, bag it and freeze it. If you end up at the vet’s take it with you.
Neem is a natural insect repellent. Not only that it is a well-known endocrine disrupter which means once it’s got into a tick it will mess with their reproductive cycle. More neem means fewer ticks in the world. Hooray!
Babesiosis Will Travel so be Prepared
While it’s new to the UK, and so far, we only see cases in Essex, Babesiosis will spread very easily. Once the tick latches on, it can stay there, feeding, for days so, where the host goes, the tick goes too.
Ticks love sheep, deer, foxes, hedgehogs, dogs and cats, anything they can get a blood meal from. Once they’ve dropped off your dog, they may be miles away from where they started. They hop onto another dog or a fox, and they’re off again. So keep an eye out for ticks and remove them as soon as you find them. If you’re unsure, ask your vet to remove it.
Be careful when you take your dog on a holiday.
So be watchful and prepared. Do as much as you can to prevent ticks from biting your dog in the first place, and if you do find a tick on your dog, make sure you remove it correctly.
How to Spot a Tick and Remove it Safely
Ticks feed on the blood of their host (nice!) Before feeding, they’re minimal 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. 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.
Check your dog’s proper nutrition: How Itching and Scratching Can be Caused by Poor Nutrition
How Do I Stop My Dog from Getting Ticks?
Prevention is key to protecting our pets from ticks and the diseases they carry. Our Billy No Mates Dry or Tincture supplement protects against ticks as well as fleas and mites.
While not all ticks carry an infectious pathogen the longer ticks are allowed to feed to greater the risk of 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.