Before starting this post, I Google imaged ‘Ticks’. OMG. Do not do that if you are slightly squeamish! If you’ve never seen one. I’ll describe them rather than subjecting you to a photo. Ticks are vampire parasites. Un-fed they look like harmless little black bugs, with eight legs like spiders. But once they’ve latched on to their host, they bury their head in the flesh (actually shivering in horror writing this) They suck the host blood and in doing so their bodies swell into a large grey mass. My husband was not amused when I said excitedly, ‘Oh I have a Tick story!’ when planning this post. But you can be the real judge!
I was lucky enough to be given my own dog when I turned 7 years old. A lovely Golden Retriever called Ben. My Dad and I would walk Ben along with our cross-breed, Billy, in the Yorkshire Wolds. On returning from one of these long walks, my Dad spotted a large grey Tick on my dog. He managed to pull it out successfully, but was telling me all about them and their blood sucking ways. I’ve no idea whose idea it was (probably mine, gross child) but we put the tick on a brick in the garden and used another brick to send it to tick heaven (Hell, in fact). Needless to say blood went EVERYWHERE. And my nature lesson for that day was done. But hey, I’m practically an expert now, right?
The disgusting nature of Ticks makes it even more important to raise awareness, as the thought of one of those blighters on my dog doesn’t bear thinking about. FRONTLINE® Spot On have this month launched a campaign with celebrity animal lover and national treasure, Bill Oddie, to raise awareness of the dangers of Ticks this Autumn. FRONTLINE® Spot On has created the campaign to make dog owners aware that no dog is safe from ticks and that owners must protect their beloved pets, especially when dog walking.
Did you know? Ticks are only second to mosquitos in carrying infectious diseases?
Lupo hasn’t had a Tick in his 3 years, and touch wood, hopefully won’t! But nearly half of pet owners (43%)* have seen a tick on their dog, and with the rapid rate at which they are multiplying**, you need to be in the know to help protect your pooches.
Where are you most likely to find Ticks? Lurking in grassy areas, not only in woodlands but in urban areas too. They look for hosts (such as dogs) to latch on to. And it’s not just local walks that owners need to be aware of. The recently relaxed Pet Travel Scheme rules means it is no longer mandatory for pets entering the UK to be treated for ticks, which could lead to an increase in foreign tick-borne diseases. With a 75% increase in the number of pets coming into the UK from Europe*** it is more important than ever before to protect your pet against foreign ticks and the diseases they can carry.
Ticks can carry dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease, which affects both people and animals. This is a growing concern, with cases in the UK having increased by 300% in humans since 2000!
So if that has given you the heeby geebies enough to ensure your dog stays healthy, click on this website to find out more: uk.frontline.com
Are you on Twitter? There’s even a Tick awareness account, where you can currently win a pet hamper. Give them a follow: @BeTickAwareThe small print… *Companion Consultancy Pet Owner Market Research, June 2011 **The current known distribution of Ixodes ricinus (common tick) has expanded by 17% in the UK. – Trends in ixodes tick abundance and distribution in Great Britain; Scharlemann et al 2008. *** Veterinary Record, 6th October 2012 This post was produced in collaboration with FRONTLINE Spot on.