How to Protect Your Pet Against Tick Season

As we approach the warmer months, many of us will be looking forward to spending more time outdoors with our pets. While summertime brings many joys, it also marks the start of tick season, meaning now is the prime time to get your pet protected.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “Ticks are small parasites which feed on human and animal blood, meaning they can transmit dangerous diseases and nasty infections, such as Lyme disease. There are lots of ways we can prevent our pets from getting ticks, and it’s important to know what to do if we spot one.

Prevention is key 

“The best way to avoid your pet getting ticks is prevention, and it’s essential to take extra precautions in the warmer months, between May and September. Ticks are more common in long grass, wooded and moorland areas– especially where other animals such as deer roam. If ticks are a problem where you live, try to avoid letting your pooch explore in these commonly affected areas and stick to paths where possible. If your cat goes outside, make sure you double check their fur for signs of ticks once they return!

“Regularly check your pet for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors – pay close attention to between their toes and on their face, around ears and in their groin, armpits and tummy areas. Ticks are tiny when they first attach, before growing significantly after a few days, so it’s important to be thorough as they can be surprisingly hard to spot and they are easy to mistake for a lump or skin tag.

What to do if your pet has ticks  

“I would always recommend visiting your vet in the first instance, as professional treatment is best where possible. If you do need to carry out tick removal at home, then the easiest method is with a special ‘tick removal tool’, using a rotating motion. It’s important not to pull, crush, or squeeze the tick, as this may result in part of the tick being left behind which can increase the risk of disease. If you’re not sure how to do this, speak to your vet, as they will be happy to show you.

“There are several products, including collars, tablets, and spot-on treatments that will kill ticks, often before they have the chance to spread diseases. Some products such as the Seresto Flea and Tick Dog Collar not only kill ticks, but repel them too, and have a long lasting effect. Don’t wait until you see a tick – it’s best to use these treatments year round as prevention. Speak to your vet to find the right preventive treatment for your pet, and make sure you are buying a reputable brand.

Signs of Lyme disease  

“Not only are ticks unpleasant, but they can also be dangerous if left untreated. Some ticks in the UK carry Lyme disease. Symptoms include a high temperature, joint pain or swelling, and a lack of energy – all of which can come and go and may appear several weeks or months after the tick bite. Ticks also carry other nasty diseases that are on the rise due to the increasing number of pets travelling or being imported from abroad. If your pet is showing symptoms of Lyme disease, or is otherwise unwell following a tick bite, contact your vet immediately.

PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk

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