Ticks on cats and dogs: what you need to know

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We love summer, don’t get us wrong, but the warmer weather can also bring with it some unwelcome guests – ticks. These small, egg-shaped parasites suck blood from other animals (including humans!) and, in doing so, can transfer a whole host of diseases, so it’s important to know how to spot them and remove them.

How do pets get ticks?

Ticks are common, particularly in woodland and grasslands. They’re different to fleas in that they don’t fly or jump onto your pet, they climb or drop onto their coat where they begin to feed and become enlarged as they fill with blood. They’re more likely during spring and autumn (summer is tick season) and can affect cats and dogs, although they like dogs more.

Can pets get diseases from ticks?  

Ticks often carry and transfer all sorts of diseases, most of which are curable if identified quickly, but some can take weeks of treatment to clear, and that can be expensive. Lyme disease is a particularly nasty one your pet could be at risk of, symptoms to look out for include:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lethargy

How to prevent disease from ticks?

The key to preventing ticks from giving your beloved pet a disease is removing it from their coat as quickly as possible. It’s important to know how to do this effectively as improper removal can increase the risk of disease. When removing ticks, you should: 

  • Use a specific tick removal tool
  • Twist the tick off to avoid squeezing the body or leaving the head in
  • Ask your vet for advice if you're unsure

Be protected with Healthy Pets

Our pet insurance offers cover on vet fees for illness and injury (up to £7,500) and ongoing cover for eligible new illnesses, for pets aged over eight weeks, as well as accident-only cover for pets aged five to eight weeks. Please note, new policies will not cover pre-existing conditions. 

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