Did you know it’s peak tick season? While ticks are active all year round, numbers tend to peak in Spring and Autumn with warmer temperatures and damp conditions. They’re commonly found in our countryside, in woods and long grasses, and even in our gardens.
Ticks aren’t just a nuisance to pets; they can carry harmful and even deadly diseases. Unlike fleas, which cause persistent itching, the early signs of a tick bite are much more subtle. As tick bites can be harder to spot, tick prevention is essential to keeping your dog safe.
To ensure you’re prepared, we’ve explored the symptoms to look out for and how you can repel ticks the natural way.
What are the symptoms of a tick bite in dogs?
Thankfully not all ticks are harmful, but around one in three are carrying an infectious disease. The pesky critters can spread disease in as little as 24 hours, so you must remove them quickly. Ticks will usually drop off after a few days when they’re full, but infection may have already spread by this stage.
Look out for the following tell-tale signs of a tick bite:
Small grey-brown or black bump
Ticks are usually black, but as they feed on blood, their body will change to a grey-brown colour. After walks, always check your dog’s body, head, neck, ears and feet. Ticks are excellent at finding warm hiding spots, like in between your dog’s toes or under their collar.
Skin inflammation or a rash
Skin inflammation or a rash around the area of the bite may be the first sign of infection. A little swelling is probably nothing to worry about, and it should heal itself after a few days. Soothe your dog’s skin with our anti-bacterial skin cream, which contains aloe vera for instant cooling. But if symptoms persist, speak to your vet.
Behavioural changes and signs of Lyme disease
On a more serious note, ticks can transmit a bacterial illness called Lyme disease. Please don’t worry as this is rare. But if a tick has bitten your dog, look out for behavioural changes, as well as:
Lack of energy
Loss of appetite or weight loss
Swollen and painful joints
Lameness (which can move around the body)
What to do if your dog has a tick
If your dog has a tick, it must be removed carefully and as soon as possible. Don’t squeeze the tick, as this can push the blood back into your dog, increasing the risk of infection. If in doubt, call your vet for advice or follow our step-by-step guide:
- Keep your dog calm. Precision is crucial to removing the tick whole. You might need a second pair of hands or a few treats to keep an excited pup still!
- Gently part your dog’s fur so you can reach the tick easily. If it’s in a delicate area, around the eye or in the ear canal, speak to your vet before attempting tick removal yourself.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool. Grip the tick as close to the head as possible, avoiding the body.
- Remove the tick with a gentle twist and pull action. Be careful not to squeeze too hard to ensure you don’t leave any parts attached.
- Kill the tick and bin it. To avoid an infestation, make sure you dispose of it properly. Ticks are incredibly resilient, and you don’t want it to happen twice!
- Clean everything. To prevent infection, clean your dog’s skin, your hands and any tools thoroughly.
How to repel ticks on dogs
The best form of protection against ticks is prevention. While there are many ways to repel ticks on dogs, we prefer to do it the natural way here at Cooper and Gracie. Here are our top tips to get rid of ticks naturally:
Groom your dog after walks
Regular grooming is essential if your dog has a long or double coat. Ticks will attach to their skin anywhere from their head to their tail. Groom your pup after walks with a fine comb to help find ticks, remove fleas and other biting pests.
Regularly apply a natural tick repellent
Chemical-based tick repellents may kill ticks, but they can cause severe reactions in your dog. A natural tick repellent is an entirely safe alternative. Our flea and tick shampoo contains 100% natural essential oils to condition the coat and prevent fleas, ticks and other biting pests from attaching. Used regularly, the soothing chamomile and lavender calms itchy, bitten skin and washes away biting pests.
For extra protection, apply our flea and tick spray up to twice a day. The 100% natural formula will coat your dog’s skin and fur to deter fleas, ticks and other nasty critters. But not only that, the nourishing essential oils condition the coat to maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Deter ticks from your garden
Ticks thrive in warm, wet conditions, and that includes your garden. To repel ticks, maintain a tidy garden. Keep your grass short and cut back any overgrown plants. If you keep woodpiles for your log burner, ensure these are stored in the sun to avoid creating a damp and inviting home for ticks.
Ensure your home is tick-free
Most ticks prefer the outdoors, but you and your dog can still bring them into your home. They can hitch a ride on your clothing, and once they’re in, they’ll be looking for a suitable host. Protect your home from a tick infestation with our natural household flea and tick spray. It’s entirely safe to use around all pets, children and babies. Apply the spray throughout your home once a week for long-lasting protection against fleas, ticks and other blood-sucking pests.
We hope our tips and advice has given you peace of mind, so you can continue enjoying stress-free walks with your dog. For more information about each of our products and their ingredients, view our flea and tick repellents for dogs and puppies.