The best ways to protect your dog from ticks
Know your ticks
Ticks are tiny, egg-shaped parasites related to spiders that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They can be found anywhere that wildlife live – particularly countryside grazed by sheep or deer – but also in town parks and even residential gardens. They’re only a couple of millimetres long before they feed, growing in size to around a centimetre as they feast on blood. They can’t fly, but use what’s known as “questing” behaviour, where they climb to the top of a grass blade or other vegetation, extend their front legs, and latch onto your dog (or you!) as it passes by.
The hazards posed by ticks
Ticks can pass infections on to pets when they bite; diseases they can transmit include babesiosis and Lyme disease. The latter can cause loss of appetite, fever, lameness, swollen joints and swollen lymph nodes. Worryingly, humans can also contract Lyme disease via a bite from an infected tick, with potentially serious consequences.
Stopping ticks in their tracks
Ticks can be hard to spot and care needs to be taken when removing them not to leave part of the tick behind in the skin. However, there are a number of ways to protect your dog against them including spot-on treatments, tablets and medicated dog tick collars.
Different products kill ticks in different ways; some products (for example tablets and some spot-ons) are active in the bloodstream so kill ticks once they start to feed. Other products repel ticks, meaning they do not have to bite the pet to be affected, and shortly after being repelled they die.1
Whichever tick treatment you choose it’s important to use it regularly to keep your dog protected long-term.
Did you know…
Even ticks have their uses. In 2017, scientists discovered that the proteins in their saliva have the potential to help prevent inflammation of the heart, as well as strokes and arthritis. That still doesn't mean you want one on you or your pet though!2
1 This information is regarding mode of action and is not intended to imply ticks can be completely stopped from biting
2 Singh K. et al. Yeast surface display identifies a family of evasins from ticks with novel polyvalent CC chemokine-binding activities. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 4267(2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04378-1