How to protect your pets from Lyme disease

Daily precautions

  1. Check your pet for ticks at least once a day.
  2. Discuss tick bite prevention with your vet.
  3. Have a tick remover suitable for use with animals.

How can I prevent ticks attaching to my pet?

There are different products on sale to protect pets from ticks. They all have their pros and cons and we advise you to discuss options with your vet before making your decision on how to protect your cat or dog.

1 Fluralaner tablets can be prescribed for dogs and cats to repel ticks and fleas. One tablet lasts 3 months and they are approved by the authorities in the USA, EU and Australia. There have, however, been safety concerns raised because the drug is excreted from the animal’s system very slowly. Fluralaner acts upon the tick’s nervous system.

2 Various insecticidal sprays for dogs and cats are sold online and in pharmacies. Any substance on a cat’s fur will be licked and swallowed. The same applies to dogs’ genitals, an area which needs particular protection from ticks. We suggest you research the particular product you plan to use so you will be well informed.

3 Various organic and “natural” tick repellent products are advertised online. The fact that they are “natural” substances does not guarantee that they are good for animals to eat, so please do your research, and also check how effective they really are.

4 Tick collars can be bought in pharmacies, which do not enter the animal’s body but are made to repel ticks. We have, however, been told by some pet owners that they found them ineffective.

How do I know if a tick has bitten my pet?

Tick bites do not usually hurt or itch.You will not notice a change in your pet’s behaviour as a result of a tick being attached – you need to look for ticks.

Sometimes pets can react to tick saliva, and get a small insect bite that may be itchy. This reaction, if it does occur, is not Lyme disease.

Do not hesitate to take your pet to the vet if he appears to be unwell.

How should I check my pet for ticks?

Ticks are particularly drawn to the warmer and less hairy parts of the body, so they are often found

  • in the ears of dogs and cats,
  • on their paws or
  • around the belly area near the genitals.
  • They can attach to any part of the body, so the furrier areas should be checked as well!

If you find a tick attached to your pet, remove and save it.

The University of Bristol has done a research project for two years, performing spot check for ticks on UK pets. They found that one dog in three, when randomly given a spot check by a veterinarian, had at least one tick attached to it.

Link to source: Big Tick Project – The Results

How long will ticks stay attached?

Ticks often remain attached for hours or days if undisturbed. The longer they remain attached, the higher the likelihood they will transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

This is why it is important to check your pet every day.

How do I remove a tick safely?

You should own a tick remover suitable for use with animals. These can be purchased from pet shops, some veterinarians or online.

You should check your pet for ticks frequently and always remove ticks immediately. Any delay will increase the risk of Lyme disease.

Go to How to remove a tick safely

Remember to keep yourself safe when removing ticks from your pet. Do not handle them with your bare hands or crush them between your fingernails.