Don’t let parasites tick off your pet

Dog owners are being encouraged to check their pets for ticks, particularly after walking in the countryside.
Dog owners are being encouraged to check their pets for ticks, particularly after walking in the countryside.

A combination of warm and wet weather over the summer holidays has led to vets warning pet owners about an increased risk in the number of ticks and fleas in the countryside.

The weather has led to grass and general flora growing taller than usual in many areas, which is leading to popular summer walking destinations becoming very overgrown.

And with dogs and their owners often making the most of warm and sunny weather outdoors, this has provided excellent conditions for these pests, particularly ticks, with a launching platform to jump onto an unsuspecting passing dog.

“We’ve enjoyed a number of warm, sunny days this summer, which many people have taken advantage of by taking their dogs on longer walks to the countryside,” said Dr Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets.

“But with the potential increase in numbers of fleas and ticks this summer, it’s important that dog owners check their pets thoroughly following a walk.

“Ticks are a particularly nasty problem and can attach themselves anywhere on a dog’s body.

“Fortunately ticks can be removed safely and effectively with a tick remover and fleas can be easily treated, although prevention is better than a cure, especially for fleas.

“Our advice is to ensure your dog has effective and safe flea and tick control that provides protection all year round, but particularly in the warmer months. That way pets can safely enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.”

Ticks feed on blood and can transmit Lyme disease, which can be difficult to detect and can sometimes cause serious complications without proper treatment.

Dr Stacey added: “If a tick is found, it is advised not to try to remove it with your fingernails. The best way of getting rid of one is either with a tick remover or by taking your pet to the vet.

“By checking your pet after every walk, it will help keep them healthy and prevent the spread of these unwelcome pests.

“Of course if a dog owner finds a tick on themselves, it’s advisable to go straight to the doctors.”