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Grooming & Wellbeing

Terrible Ticks

The Terrible TickI’m always caught unawares by the start of the warmer weather and the sudden appearance of those devilish parasites we know as ticks, clambering to get a foothold on Monty’s flesh.  Ticks are more of a menace than you might think and pose all sorts of problems to your dog and to you.  These small blood sucking arachnids are carriers of a bacterial infection known as Lymes Disease which cannot only cause acute inflammation of the joints in a dog but more seriously can lead to kidney damage or complications of the nervous system, although this is more rare.  It also affects us humans and a tick which remains unnoticed on the skin for a prolonged period could make you feel quite unwell as well as cause all sorts of health problems.

A recent article on the BBC website explored the risks of ticks and talked of tick bites being on the rise in the UK.  Walking through woodland, long grass, places which support populations of deer – all these carry the risk of ticks biting either you or your dog.  Forewarned is forearmed, I’d say. 

So, how can you keep these pesky pesks at bay and keep your dog tick-free? 

Natural repellents

Garlic

Some say that garlic is a great way to help our pampered pooches repel both ticks and fleas.  A clove of garlic regularly, mixed into your dog’s food is allegedly supposed to keep the pests at bay.  Other owners swear by a mixture of brewer’s yeast and garlic powder.  Personally, I couldn’t get Monty ANYWHERE near the pungent bulbs!  Perhaps odourless garlic capsules might do the trick?

Essential oils

Another known repellent is rose geranium oil – a couple of drops added to some water and poured in a spray bottle which you can then use to spray your dog’s collar with the solution regularly.  Do not spray your dog with it though.  Delightfully floral! 

A Tick Collar on MontyFlea and tick treatments

There are a few on the market and some which vets recommend – spot on treatments, sprays and even collars.  Treatments such as these are not a cheap way to deal with the problem but they are generally much more effective.  Monty really suffered last year with swellings after ticks had been removed and after trying a variety of different methods, we decided to go down the collar route this year. 

The collar (much like the spot on and spray treatments) works by releasing the repellent chemicals on to the pet’s hair, coat and skin.  The chemicals cling to the hair and skin on your dog and provide protection from any creepy crawly parasites that might try to make their home on your pet.  Perhaps the best thing of all about the collar though, is the fact that it continues to do the job of repelling ticks and fleas for up to 8 months, with no odour, no reapplication and more importantly, no harm to your pet.  A winner for us.

Regular checking

To be honest, this is perhaps the MOST important way of keeping ticks from doing any harm to you or your pet.  A tick check after every walk is vital.  Detect them on the skin or in your dog’s fur before they have a chance to latch on for long and your dog will be eternally grateful.  Make sure you check yourself too as ticks have a tendency to crawl up legs.  Do wear long trousers if you are planning on walking in the woods or through tall grass.

Removing ticks

Mikki Tick PickerThe Tick Bite Prevention Week website has some brilliant information on how to remove ticks correctly.  I find a tick tool invaluable rather than a pair of tweezers – somehow it is easier to grip the little blighter and remove it all in one piece. 

Whichever method you choose, do remember to check your dog regularly and be sure to remove these terrible ticks swiftly and properly.  Don’t let them spoil a good walk!

Rebecca Fletcher

Rebecca is a freelance writer who finally upped sticks to rural Hampshire after over a decade in London.  She lives with her husband, 2 daughters, 2 cats, a motley crew of hens and her beloved working cocker spaniel Monty, general gundog dunce and probably the most spoilt dog in Hampshire.  With the phrase 'the more the merrier' being embraced as part of their new rural life, a bundle of joyful furriness named Isadora joined the family just before Christmas 2015 and life has not been the same since. 

They say that you can never have too much of a good thing!  Good job too as now there are two cocker spaniels at home to train, walk and play with, when they are not curled up at Rebecca's feet waiting for her to finish writing for the day!

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Rebecca Fletcher

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