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Ticks are unwelcome and dangerous parasites which are particularly active in warm, humid conditions, making them particularly troublesome in spring and autumn. Unlike other parasites, ticks do not need a host in order to survive, they only latch on to feed. It is estimated that every day in the UK, 1.2 million dogs have ticks*, so it is essential that pet-owners know how to check their pets for ticks, and how to remove them if needed.
There are 23 different types of ticks in the UK (and over 800 worldwide), so it is highly likely your cat or dog will pick one up at some point during their life. While ticks spend most of their lifecycle in the undergrowth, on several occasions they will emerge in search of a host in order to feed. This could be an animal or a person.
The most common tick pets and their owners are likely to encounter in the UK is the Sheep Tick (Ixodes ricinus).
[FAO: Ross – Include tick lifecycle here. Will need to reference it is from Ixodes ricinus]
Both cats and dogs could pick up ticks while they are out exploring or on a walk. Vibrations, warmth and carbon dioxide from your pet will stimulate ticks to emerge and latch onto your pet. Once aboard, the tick will insert their needle-like, serrated mouthparts through the skin, and begin to feed on your pet.
Although their two main periods of activity are spring and autumn, with the ever-changing British weather it is a good idea to check your pet for ticks on a daily basis so that they can be removed quickly and safely.
Before feeding, ticks are just large enough to be visible, often looking like a small freckle when they first latch on to your pet, so they can be hard to spot. As a tick feeds it swells up to around 10mm, and looks like a smooth, grey nodule or wart.
Checking your pet is simple, all you do is run your hands along your pet’s fur, applying enough pressure to feel small bumps. Pay particular attention between their toes, behind their ears, on their face and under their armpits. If you feel a raised bump, carefully part the fur to see if it is a tick.
Discovering a tick is never nice for a pet-owner. While you will want to get rid of it immediately, there some key things to remember before you act.
Never try to pull a tick out without a suitable tick removal tool – incorrect removal of a tick can cause the mouth parts to break away and remain in your pet, which can result an infection or an abscess.
The Beaphar Tick Removal Kit provides pet-owners with a simple solution to carefully detach ticks quickly and safely. The kit combines our popular Beaphar Tick Away, a non-toxic spray that freezes ticks for easy removal, with our unique, patented tool, the Beaphar TickBoy®.
Suitable for all sizes of tick, the Beaphar TickBoy® has been designed specifically to make removing ticks easier for pet owners. The Beaphar TickBoy®’s V-shaped hook exerts no pressure on the body of the tick, helping to prevent it from regurgitating into the affected animal.
Small and compact, the Beaphar Tick Removal Kit is the ideal size for dog walkers, and can easily fit in your pocket or bag.
Watch our video below to see how to use the Beaphar Tick Removal Kit to safely and effectively remove a tick.
Ticks can cause a great deal of harm to your pet, and indeed to people too. During the feeding process, any viruses or bacteria being carried by the tick can be transferred to your pet. It is estimated that around 15% of ticks carry Lyme Disease*, which can cause lifelong problems for both pets and people.
The chance of infection and bacteria being passed to your pet increases the longer the tick is attached to your pet, which is why it is essential to check your pet for ticks regularly.
After removing the tick, the wound must be thoroughly disinfected. If you have recently removed a tick from your cat or dog, and are worried about their health, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Equally, if you have removed a tick, but think the mouthparts may have remained in your pet, seek veterinary advice immediately.
We can’t always prevent ticks from attaching to our pets, but by treating them regularly with a veterinary medicine authorised to kill ticks, we can reduce the chance of disease transmission by killing the tick quickly.
Prevention is always better than a cure. It is imperative to treat all pets for ticks, especially if you are in an area prone to ticks. Beaphar FIPROtec® is a vet strength spot-on medicine that kills fleas and ticks on cats and dogs, and is effective for up to four weeks.
Alongside this, continue to check your pet regularly for ticks, and keep a product such as the Beaphar Tick Removal Kit handy just in case.
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