Dog tick season 2023: How to check your dog for ticks, best way to remove them and what kills ticks on dogs

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All you need to know about how to check your dog for ticks and how to remove them.

Tick season is upon us, and as all dog and cat owners know, we’ll spend spring and summer checking our pets for signs of the little parasites. Ticks are more active in spring and summer, which is why we have to be extra careful with our animals during this time.

The season has arrived as TBEV, also known as tick-borne encephalitis, has been found in a number of places across England. Borne by ticks, TBEV, is a virus that can cause mild-like symptoms, including flu-like illness or more severe reactions in the central nervous system through meningitis or encephalitis. It had its first human case in the UK last year.

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Ticks can be pretty sneaky and will lodge themselves into the skin of your furry friend when they least expect it. It’s important to check if your pet has a tick when taking them out in the warmer months.

To check your pet, gently run your hand along their fur to feel for any unusual bumps. They are commonly seen around the head, neck, ears and feet of dogs.

We break down when exactly tick season is and how to remove them from your furry companion safely.

How to remove a tick from your dog

When discovering a tick on your pooch, your first instinct may be to get the tweezers and pull it out. However, this could risk grave health problems for your canine companion down the line.

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Not only could the tick’s head become stuck under your pet’s skin, but squeezing the tick could also lead to infection, increasing the chance of them contracting more serious health problems.

The best way to remove a tick is by twisting it off your furry friend. You can do this by using a tick removal tool.

You should be able to find a tick removal tool at either a pet store or at your local vet. They are also available online. We found them sold on Amazon for as little as £3, while Pets At Home has them for £4.50.

To remove the tick from your pet, you must first part their fur to make the base of the creature more visible. Then using the tick remover tool, you can slide the prongs under the tick.

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You must then twist in a clockwise direction a few times, which should loosen the tick. Once your pet’s skin is free of the creature, you can dispose of the tick by either putting it in alcohol or putting it in a tissue and flushing it down the toilet.

If you are unsure of how to remove it yourself, you can also seek advice from a vet who will be able to demonstrate it for you so you can do it at home in the future if need be. Blue Cross says you should never use your fingers to crush a tick.

When is tick season?

Ticks are more active across the spring and summer months as well as the start of autumn. Tick season typically kicks off in March and ends around early October.

They typically live in grassy or wooded areas meaning those who are set to explore the wilderness this summer may want to travel with a tick remover tool in case they come across one on their travels.

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The creatures are more active during the warmer months as the wet and hotter climates make them active for longer in the year. During this time numbers of ticks are said to also rise.

Why do ticks need to be removed?

The RSPCA say ticks can bite and feed on your pet for up to a few days before they drop off. However this period could cause risk to your furry friend’s health as the tick could give them a disease.

The little parasites carry Lyme disease, which is a serious bacterial infection. Both you and your canine companion can get Lyme disease.

Symptoms in pets include:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lethargy

What kills ticks on dogs?

Blue Cross warns pet owners that live in an area with active ticks, to use preventative treatment. This can either repel ticks or kill them quickly if they attach themselves to your pet.

This can include both spot on treatments and tablets. If you are unsure on what would work best for your beloved pal, you can always check in with your local vet.

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