Understanding the dangers of ticks on dogs

April 14, 2024

It’s that time of year again, when spring sunshine and warmer temperatures mean ticks become more of a problem. Whether you’re out and about in Prestatyn and Rhyl or taking your dog on trips further afield, now is the time to be vigilant. Take a look at our article below in which Vet Richard Ryvar, answers some commonly asked questions about ticks and the danger they pose to dogs and humans.

Guide to removing a tick safely

AllPets Veterinary Surgery’s Tick FAQs

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, including our beloved canine companions. While they may be small in size, ticks can pose significant health risks to dogs and their owners.

Why are ticks on dogs such a problem?

AllPets Veterinary Surgery’s highly experienced Veterinary Surgeon Richard Ryvar, explains that ticks are more than just a nuisance – they’re vectors for a variety of diseases that can affect both dogs and humans. When a tick attaches to a dog and feeds on their blood, it can transmit pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases in dogs include Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. Dogs travelling abroad may also be at risk of contracting ehrlichiosis from ticks, a bacterial infection that affects the white blood cells. It is rare in the UK, but could be transmitted by ticks if your dog is travelling to Europe, the USA and Africa.

Richard shares that ticks are also highly adaptable creatures, capable of thriving in a wide range of environments, from wooded areas to urban parks. This makes it challenging to avoid exposure to ticks, especially for dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors. Additionally, ticks can be difficult to detect, as they often attach themselves to areas of the dog’s body that are hard to see, such as between the toes, inside the ears, or under the tail.

What are the health implications of tick infestations?

Richard wants Prestatyn dog owners to be aware that tick infestations can have serious health implications for dogs. In addition to transmitting diseases, ticks can cause local irritation and inflammation at the site of attachment. Some dogs may develop allergic reactions to tick saliva, leading to symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling.

If left untreated, tick-borne diseases can cause a range of symptoms in dogs, including fever, lethargy, lameness, joint pain, and organ damage. In severe cases, untreated tick-borne diseases can be fatal. Moreover, certain tick-borne pathogens, such as those that cause Lyme disease, can also affect humans, posing a risk to pet owners and their families.

Ask our team to explain the specific symptoms of Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and also ehrlichiosis if you’re taking your dog abroad.

Can you prevent dogs getting ticks?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect your dog from ticks and the diseases they carry:

  1. Use tick preventatives: Our vets can advise you about the best tick prevention products for your dog’s individual needs. There are many safe and effective options available, including topical treatments, oral medications, and tick collars.
  2. Perform regular tick checks: After spending time outdoors, it is wise to thoroughly check your dog for ticks, paying close attention to areas where ticks are likely to hide such as between the toes, inside the ears, or under the tail. If you find a tick, it’s essential to remove it promptly and safely to reduce the risk of disease transmission – download our guide on removing a tick safely here.
  3. Avoid tick-infested areas: When possible, avoid areas where ticks are typically prevalent, such as tall grass, wooded areas, and brushy vegetation. Stick to well-maintained trails and keep your dog on a lead to minimise exposure to ticks.
  4. Maintain a clean environment: Keep your garden free from tall grass, leaf litter, and other debris where ticks may thrive. Regularly mow the lawn, trim vegetation, and remove potential tick habitats to reduce the risk of infestation.

Download our guide on removing a tick safely

If you find a tick on your dog, it’s crucial to remove it properly to minimise the risk of infection. Download our guide on removing a tick safely for step-by-step instructions and helpful tips. With our guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to handle tick removal quickly and effectively, helping to protect your dog’s health and wellbeing. We’re here to help if you have any difficulties with this – call us on 01745 853 366.

Get our guide to removing a tick safely

By taking proactive measures to prevent tick infestations and promptly remove any ticks that may attach to your dog, you can help keep your furry friend safe from the dangers of tick-borne diseases. If you have any concerns about ticks or tick prevention, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our helpful team at AllPets Vets.