TICK SEASON BITES: MAKE SURE YOUR PET IS INSURED.
Better weather and bank holidays means its countryside dog walking season - and the risk of invisible but potentially expensive, and deadly, pests.
But the answer to avoiding at least some of the danger presented by ticks is to get the gossip.
"Prevention is better than cure: cure can cost thousands of pounds - we know, because we help pet owners foot the bill for treatment for damage inflicted by a much-underestimated parasite," said Mark Effenberg, Chief Executive of Healthy-Pets Insurance, the countrys leading independent pet insurer - and a dog owner himself.
"In the same way that many people avoid accident black spots when theyre driving, so too can dog owners avoid known areas of tick concentration - its simple: talk to other dog owners, but, importantly, your vet, to establish the level of incidence of ticks in your area.
"If youre planning a UK-based holiday which will involve dog walking, then find a dog owners forum in the area youre going to - or even fire off a concise email to a local dog breeder or vet in the area youre planning to visit to get a sense of whether theres a problem with ticks.
"Ticks transfer all sorts of diseases - Lyme disease being particularly nasty, and very much in the news - but vigilant owners will be able to spot and deal with them: theres a lot of advice online, but, fundamentally, while theyre often the size of a flea, they dont move: they attach themselves to your dog. The key is their safe removal ensuring that you dont leave their fangs embedded in your pets skin. You can get special tools and tweezers to remove them.
"Most of the diseases and infections that ticks transfer are curable if identified quickly - but Lyme disease can take weeks to clear with treatment, and that can be expensive.
"Insurance is something that you may never need, but its worth every penny to your pet."
Healthy Pets Insurance is quite possibly the original online pet insurer, launched in 1996, and which sold its first policies online in 1997, a year before Google was founded. It now has tens of thousands of customers, and policy purchases increasing fast. Healthy Pets is an award-winning online insurer, and is the biggest independent pet insurance provider in the UK, focussing exclusively on cat insurance and dog insurance. It consistently offers the most competitive prices, and has amongst the highest customer satisfaction ratings.