Ticks are small blood-sucking creepy crawlies. They have eight legs and vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long, depending on their age. They look like tiny fat spiders with a white-ish, egg-shaped body. This body becomes larger and darker as it fills with blood. They 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.
Tick season tends to be between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year. Ticks don’t fly or jump, but climb up or drop down onto your dog’s coat when they brush past the area they are sitting in.
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. They feed by biting an animal and feasting on blood. This may take several days. Once they have had enough, they will drop off.
Ticks carry diseases, so it’s important to remove any that attach themselves to your dog as soon as possible. Quick removal lessens the risk of disease. Brushing also helps to remove them, before they become attached.
Twisting them off your dog is the best removal method using a handy tick-removal device. Remember 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. Try to ensure that the whole tick is removed by using the tick removal device - twisting rather than pulling.
Ticks are very good at passing on infections and 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 and use a tick treatment that will repel ticks.
And as always, remember to seek the advice of a veterinarian if in doubt!