• The Big Tick Project website

Ticks and Fleas

Tiny, but a huge menace

Ticks and fleas are not only irritating and uncomfortable for dogs, but are capable of transmitting some serious diseases. Both ticks and fleas are parasites that feed on blood and are common in warm months of the year. Fleas use their saliva to prevent the dog’s blood from clotting so they can feed. Just one bite can set off itching, scratching and biting, with the risk of bacteria then entering open wounds. Ticks also inject a toxin into your dog as they feed, which can transmit diseases like Lyme disease and Bartonellosis. Humans aren’t immune from the effects of these parasites either; bites can cause itchy lumps and allergic reactions, or even transmit diseases to us.

Watch out for the warm season

But remember, it’s a year-round problem!

Ticks and fleas become more common when the weather warms up, right when you’re likely to spend more time outside with your dog. Even though spring and autumn are high-seasons for fleas and ticks, they are a year-round danger. Changeable weather conditions in Europe, along with more weather-resistant species, mean it’s necessary to protect your dog year-round.

Your local area — a hotspot heaven for fleas and ticks

Ticks and fleas are a widespread pest and they are alarmingly easy for dogs to pick up because they are so effective at what they do: latching on to food sources. Just a few parasites can breed into a full-scale infestation as they can mate while on your pet. They thrive in warm, damp environments and can live virtually anywhere. Here are some of the places where they are likely to be laying in:

  • Local parks.

  • Your own garden.

  • Your home.

  • Community dog kennels.

  • In car upholstery after a trip to the countryside.

  • Dog grooming parlours.

One paw ahead

Excessive biting, licking, scratching or shaking are all signs that should alert you to the possibility that your dog might have picked up fleas or ticks. In addition, symptoms like lethargy, fever or lack of appetite could indicate a parasite-borne disease. While there are ways to eliminate these parasites once found on your dog — such as shampoos and sprays — it’s much easier to prevent them from taking a solid foothold on your dog to begin with. Preventative measures such as collars or tablets and spot-on treatments can protect your dogs for extended periods of time, even up to twelve weeks of nose-to-toes protection. Speaking with your vet is a great first step towards protecting yourself and your dog from the dangers of ticks and fleas.

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