Why ticks are on the rise – and what to do about it
Fleas and ticks have become active year-round. Our winters are becoming milder, our summers longer and warmer. These are ideal circumstances for ticks, which can transmit nasty diseases such as Lyme. How to protect your dog from tick bites? And when to start?
The first three months of 2020 made it into the top of hottest first quarters since measurements began. Spring started about four weeks ahead of time this year. Ticks usually tend to bite between April and September, but as a result of today’s mild winters and warm springs, ticks are now posing a problem for an increasingly large portion of the year. Ticks become active as soon as temperatures rise above 8 degrees Celsius. This year, we’ve had several summery days in early April, with temperatures around five degrees Celsius above the average. Ticks are more active when temperatures are higher and as a result, the ‘tick activity expectation’ issued by Tekenradar.nl has already reached the maximum value of ‘very high’ in a large portion of the Netherlands.
Lyme and other diseases
Tick bites cause an itch and skin irritation. In Belgium and the Netherlands, sheep ticks tend to be a problem. About 20% of these ticks may transmit Lyme and about 30% of sheep ticks may be carrying other pathogens. This is why it is important to remove ticks as quickly as possible in order to keep your dog healthy. Preferably, even before they get the chance to bite! The number of tick bites has been increasing every year as a result of rising temperatures. This means that it is becoming increasingly important to keep combating these parasites year-round.
Always check your dog for ticks after a walk or after spending time in the garden. Gardens account for a lot of tick bites in April; almost 40% of all bites! Do not make the mistake of looking for the well-known ‘grey spheres’ only. These are ticks that have filled themselves up with blood. Remove the small brown spider-like insects too, those are ticks that haven’t fed yet. Ticks often gravitate towards the same spots. Inspect your dog’s neck, head, ears, legs and underneath the tail. Use a pair of pointy tweezers or better still, a special tick remover to get rid of ticks that have already latched onto the skin. Grab the tick as close to the head as possible to prevent it from getting damaged in the process.
Preventing tick bites
It is impossible to prevent ticks from biting altogether, but you can reduce the risk. The most natural solution is to use food supplements that make your dog’s blood less attractive or even indigestible to parasites. These supplements can be added to your dog’s food year-round. They also work when your dog likes to swim a lot and do not contain any chemical pesticides. Finecto+ Dog is a dog food supplement that can be added to any meal. It contains tasty and carefully selected herbs that dogs love to eat. These aromatic substances are absorbed by the animal and excreted through the skin. Fleas and ticks can’t stand them and will no longer be interested in the dog.
“Both our dachshunds love to be outside and play in tall grass. The only downside is that they attract a lot of ticks. Finecto+ Dog has clearly reduced the number of ticks latching on to our Lotje and Annebel!”