Luckily, ticks are not a huge problem here in the UK although according to research, around 15% of our canine friends have ticks. You may not realise it, but dogs can pick these nasty parasites up in places and areas you would not immediately think as the most obvious. The other thing to bear in mind is that it is really important to remove ticks correctly as soon as you notice one on your dog because they carry some rather nasty diseases and may even lead to a painful abscess forming at the site where they took hold.
If you take your dog for a walk in the park, there is a risk they may pick up a tick because they can be found in places where hedgehogs and any other wildlife is frequently found. This includes pheasants, deer, foxes and badgers to name but a few animals that carry ticks to areas you may have thought safe and tick-free!
Ticks can be found in grass, plants and shrubs commonly found in parks and as soon as they get the whiff of any warmth and odours that a dog naturally gives off, they will make a bee-line for them so they can attach themselves to your pet's body.
You may not realise how many wild animals actually go through your back garden during the night. In fact, even blackbirds can be responsible for bringing ticks into your garden and as soon as your dog goes out there, they can pick up ticks (and fleas) all too easily. If you like feeding wild birds and have set up a bird table in the garden or on a patio, you need to make sure your dog is protected by a product that prevents them from picking up any nasty and disease ridden parasites like ticks. Remember, ticks carry Lyme's disease which they can transmit to your dog!
If you work all day and have organised for your dog to be looked after in a daycare centre for our canine friends, the chances are quite a few other dogs are being looked after on a regular basis at the centre. In this type of environment your pet could be more at risk of picking up both ticks and fleas.
The same goes for kennels which means if you are going away on holiday and putting your dog in a kennel for the time you are away, you need to make sure they are protected before they go there. The more dogs there are in one place, the greater the chance of them picking up any of these nasty parasites.
Because so many dogs and other animals pass through a veterinary waiting room, there is a small chance that your dog (or cat) may pick up a tick there too. No matter how clean an area happens to be, if a tick falls off another animal, it will soon find a new host to jump on and it could be your dog. This parasite could even get on you which means you could accidentally tread it into your car or home.
The problem with ticks is they are extremely resilient parasites and even if your dog only picks a single one up, it could do a lot of damage. Ticks like certain areas of the body more than others, so after a walk in the park or through the countryside, it's always a good idea to check your dog over to see if they have picked up any of these nasty blood sucking things. It's important to examine your dog thoroughly paying particular attention to the following areas of their body:
As with most things, prevention is far better than cure and there are some very effective tick and flea prevention treatments available. If you are unsure which would be best for your dog, you need to discuss things with a vet making sure you have an ongoing programme in place much as you would a worming programme.
Luckily ticks are not a massive problem in the UK, but it is not something dog owners should forget about or ignore. It's estimated that around 15% of our canine friends do have ticks. If you regularly take your dog for a walk in a park or through the countryside, they run the risk of picking up a tick. However, ticks can be found in places where wild animals and birds like to frequent. This could be in a back garden because you never know what wild animals are passing through it during the night!