Fleas & ticks - what you need to know

Whether you live in the countryside, suburban areas, or in the city, if your pet goes in fields and woodland, in the park, or even in your garden, ticks may have the opportunity to attach.

Dog outline  image

Ticks are not just an occasional nuisance or a passing irritation for your pet. They should be given equal consideration to any other health issue. Owners now have the option of alternative, non-chemical options to maintain the health and protection of their pets.

There are a number of tick species in the UK which will readily attach to our pets, and can transmit disease to them. The most common of these are the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus) and the hedgehog tick (Ixodes hexagonus). Both these species carry Borreliosis and other associated infections.

Tick bites can cause a variety of problems to animals. These can range from uncomfortable skin reactions and septic abscesses, to the transmission of diseases which can be a serious health threat, and in certain cases may prove fatal. Preventing tick attachment, and correctly removing any ticks that have attached, is key to preserving your pet’s health.

Getting out and about provides our pets, and us, with the exercise and stimulus that is essential for good mental and physical health. Keeping them and you sufficiently protected against ticks will allow continued enjoyment of the great outdoors in increased safety.

Fleas - what you need to know

There are over 2300 different species of flea. The female adult is said to be able to produce up to 950 eggs in its lifetime which are just about visible to the human eye as small white objects.

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of their host they have adapted mouth parts that allow them pierce the skin and suck the blood of a host. When fleas feed on the blood of our pets, they leave excretions behind them.

How do I know if my dog has fleas?

You may already know that your dog has fleas because you have spotted them in the fur. But if you're not sure, check at the base of your dog's tail -- they tend to hide there because it's a difficult spot for the dog to reach. They may also be visible scuttling across the dog's tummy, where the fur is thinner.

Life cycle of a flea

If you can't see any fleas, check for flea poo (sorry!). Comb your dog with a fine-toothed comb, looking for dark specks like grains of pepper. If these are flea droppings they will contain blood products making them easy to identify -- just drop some of the grains on a wet tissue. Flea poo will dissolve, creating tiny red stains and confirming that your dog has fleas.