Tick seasons starts in March and ends in November. Tick numbers tend to increase as the weather starts to get warmer, so you should start looking out for these pesky creatures at the beginning of spring (although they can be present all year round).
Ticks can’t jump onto a host, they reside on trees, grass and vegetation and wait for an animal to brush by, at which point they latch on. If a tick is left, it will feed on its host for around five to seven days before dropping off.
Ticks have six legs, and can be between 1 and 2 millimetres long before they attach. Once they have collected blood from their host, they can grow to the size of a pea. People often see them on their dogs and mistake them for moles or skin tags.
Some ticks can be harmless, but unfortunately others can spread disease such as Lyme disease.
You can buy tick prevention treatments, although it is unclear how effective they are.
Where are ticks found?
Ticks are usually found in healthland, long grass, woodland, moorland, forests, rough pasture and even urban parks. They can also occasionally be found in gardens, especially gardens with a lot of shrubs and vegetation with regular visiting wildlife. Try and avoid letting your dog run through these areas during tick season, and if you do walk them in these places, stick to the paths.
Check your dog regularly
You should check your dog for ticks daily, and after all dog walks. You can do this by feeling all around their body, taking care to check hard to reach areas such as armpits and ears. If you do spot a tick, don’t leave it and remove with a tick ‘picker’ which twists the tick out.
Watch out for symptoms in your dog including poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, depression or excessive salivation. Brushing and grooming your dog regularly can help increase your chances of spotting them.
Natural tick prevention methods
There are some natural remedies that can help to prevent ticks. Garlic is a natural tick repellent, as well as lemon and apple cider vinegar. Please check with your vet before giving your pet these foods. This website also offers ideas for making tick prevention sprays and shampoos.