Walking through the countryside and letting your dog off their lead to run around in the grass can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of pet ownership.
However, hiding in that grass can be unseen dangers for the health of your dog, and cats are at risk as well.
Symptoms could see your dog paralysed
Ticks, small black or brown insects which feed on the blood of animals, including humans, can often latch on to our beloved furry friends without being noticed.
A tick bite can have serious consequences for your pet if it goes untreated, with the insects able to carry diseases such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis.
Symptoms of an unseen tick can include joint swelling, lethargy, lameness and a fever. But for some dogs, it can have even more serious consequences such as tick paralysis, which means a dog may find it hard or impossible to walk. Left untreated, it could leave a pet fully paralysed until the ticks are removed.
How to spot if your pet has been bitten
If your pet is suffering with a tick bite it is likely that it will be showing behavioural signs that might help you spot the problem. If your dog or cat is scratching itself excessively or licking in one particular area, it could have been bitten by a tick.
Ticks will stay latched onto their host animal until they have finished feeding, which can last hours or several days. Tick bites are more common in dogs and extremely rare in cats, but cases do happen.
How to remove a tick
Vets recommend purchasing a specifically designed tick removal tool to get rid of a tick safely. Once you have done so, it can be useful to retain the tick in case your pet becomes ill from the bite.
To keep it safe for identification, put the tick in some kitchen roll and pop it in a plastic bag in the freezer. This will allow a vet to easily identify the type of tick and diagnose your pet quickly.
Worried? Take them to a vet
If you think your cat or dog has been bitten by a tick, the best and first course of action is to call your vet. A vet will help you decide the best course of action and may remove the tick for you