How to Spot and Prevent Ticks, Amid Designer Dog Warning


According to new research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), ‘designer’ cross-breed dogs with curly coats, such as cockapoos and cavapoos are at higher risk of tick infections due to their poodle heritage.

Ticks are a common parasite among dogs, and can easily pass infections from one animal to another, so it’s something neither you, nor your dog wants to be hanging around for long!

Amid the research, the team at have revealed their top advice for removing ticks from your dog, how you can look out for ticks in their coats, and what you can do to prevent ticks in the future.

What does a tick look like?
You’re more likely to feel a tick on your dog before you see it. They vary in size from as small as a pinhead to as big as a pea, and are grey-brown in colour. You could easily mistake them for a wart, a bur, a skin tag, or a bit of dirt. On closer inspection though, you’ll see they have 8 tiny legs and a small dark head.

How can you remove ticks?
The golden rule here – the sooner the better. But also correctly. The less time a tick spends on your dog, the less time it has to pass on potentially nasty infections.

To remove one effectively, we recommend buying a tick-removal tool. This little fork-like gadget allows you to get underneath the tick, before carefully twisting it, and lifting it off your dog’s skin. Take a good look to check the tick is completely removed, including the head. It’s important not to squeeze the tick at any point in the process, as this can increase the chance of infection. This is why removing them with your fingers or regular household tweezers isn’t recommended. 

Tip: dispose of the tick by dropping it into a tissue and flushing it down the loo. Then wash your hands.

6 tick prevention tactics

1. Get tick treatment for dogs
Make sure your dog has effective anti-parasite protection. Not all of them cover ticks – so it’s worth checking in with your vet if you are unsure. 

2. Invest in spray repellents
Spray your clothing and pet accessories before you leave the house – always checking instructions first. Pop a tick removal tool in your pocket and an antiseptic solution for any bites that happen en route.

3. Dress clever
Where possible, wear long sleeves and tuck your trousers into your socks. Nothing says “dinner time” to a hungry tick like a pair of shorts! Stick to the centre of paths and avoid walking through long grass or undergrowth. If you do have to wade in for that favourite ball, check your clothing for ticks and brush them off quickly.

4. Get garden deterrents
Even if you don’t live in the countryside, urban wildlife can easily bring ticks into your garden. Make mowing your favourite job, so grass is kept short, clear wild undergrowth, and keep seating or play areas away from borders and vegetation.

5. Leave ticks outside
Keep these unwanted guests out of your home by checking yourself as well as your dog. Make sure to remove outer layers before you go indoors and give them a good once-over. It’s better still if there are two of you to carry out inspection duty on each other!

6. Get a Lyme disease vaccination
If you regularly go for walks in a high-risk tick area, ask your vet about getting your dog vaccinated. It gives added protection against Lyme disease on top of your regular tick treatment for dogs.

By following these tips for ticks, you can help keep on top of these perennial pests. And because every dog is different, we always recommend speaking to your vet so that together you can work out what’s best for your dog.

City Dog Expert

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