When are ticks a problem?
Ticks are a year-round threat, although their activity tends to peak in spring and autumn so they may be more noticeable during those times.
How prevalent are ticks?
43% of owners have seen a tick on their dog*. Tick numbers also appear to be changing, with many tick species being found over wider areas or in places not noted previously. Changes in climate and numbers of wildlife hosts play a role in tick numbers.
How serious is the threat to my pet?
Many tick-borne diseases can result in serious illness in pets. Lyme disease can cause lameness, lethargy and chronic disease in untreated pets. Diseases such as canine Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis, common in many European countries, can cause severe symptoms, sometimes becoming fatal if not diagnosed and treated in time.
Why do I need to treat my pet for ticks?
Whenever a pet goes outside, they could be at risk of picking up ticks. These parasites are found in both rural and suburban areas, such as parks, garden, woods, heaths and so on. Using a treatment that kills ticks before they can transmit disease to your pet gives your pet the most effective protection.
How long do ticks live?
They can live for up to three years, depending on the climate and available hosts. A tick will feed on the blood of a single host in each of its life stages: larva, nymph and adult.
How big are ticks?
An immature tick can be as small as a sesame seed. An adult tick that has fed can be the size of a 5p piece.
When could a tick transmit a disease?
The biggest risk of disease transmission starts 48 hours after the tick attaches, when they are in the rapid engorgement stage of feeding.
When and how should I check my pets for ticks?
Whenever your pet has been outdoors, especially at times of increased tick activity or if you have been in an area that you don't normally visit. You should check your pet regularly. Part their fur and pay particular attention to areas where the fur is thinner, such as their head, neck and tummy. If you do find a tick attached, ask your vet how to use a tick remover correctly to avoid leaving the head in the skin.
I live in the city so ticks shouldn't be a problem, should they?
Ticks are increasingly being found in urban parks and gardens, especially as there are changes in fox and deer populations and an increase in 'green' areas in the city. They're not just a rural issue.
What can I do to protect my pet from ticks?
Regularly use FRONTLINE SPRAY throughout the year as ticks can be active in the cooler months**. In addition, whenever your pet comes in from the outdoors, check him or her over carefully. Ask your vet about the tick protection most suitable for your pet.
What should I do if I take my pet abroad?
The British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association recommend protective tick treatment for animals travelling outside the UK. It is advisable to treat your pet with a suitable tick product before travelling to reduce the risk of your pet becoming infected with a tick-borne disease whilst abroad. If you are going to be away for more than a month, treat your pet regularly according to the product packaging. Also check your pet regularly and carefully remove any ticks that remain attached. Ensure that your pet is correctly treated before it returns to the UK to reduce the chance that foreign ticks could be bought back with you. For more information on the risk of ticks in various European countries, see www.fleatickrisk.com
Should I pull a tick off my pet?
Ticks cement themselves in position so, if they're alive, it's difficult to remove them without leaving the mouthparts in your pet's skin, which can lead to infection. If you know the tick is dead, you should be able to remove it carefully with a gentle pull, preferably with a tick remover or fine-tipped tweezers placed as close to the head of the tick as possible. If that doesn't work, ask your vet to help you.
Can ticks be harmful to humans as well as pets?
Yes. Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease to both humans and animals. Lyme disease incidence in people has increased more than 300% in humans in the UK since 2000†. For information on how Lyme disease can affect humans and pets, go to www.bada-uk.org. Ticks also transmit diseases such as tick-borne viral encephalitis and Mediterranean spotted fever in many European countries.
*Source: Companion Consultancy Pet Owner Market Research June 2012. Petbuzz, Social Media for PET brands..
**Source: Prevalence, distribution and risks associated with ticks infesting dogs, Smith, F; Ballantyne, R; Morgan, E; Wall, R accepted for publication in Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
† Source: Health Protection Agency.