The Big Tick Project

Tick Awareness Month is in full swing with Insta dogs all over the UK, as well as Pepé & Co, joining in with the awareness campaign by sharing their stories and photos using #BigTickProject

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When we found out about The Big Tick Project we were really excited to be a part of the cause. But more than that it really hit home that it is up to me as a ‘dog parent’ to protect my pet. What was I thinking? Or not thinking? I need to be clued up on the threats to my dog and be vigilant when it comes to protecting her.

I try to take Pepé everywhere with me from popping to my local coffee shop right up to a trip over to the continent. France is one of my favourite places and with so many wonderful walks and places to sit outside and eat, taking Pepé with me is an easy decision to make!

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France along with many other destinations in Europe are hosts to tick borne diseases like Mediterranean Spotted Fever which isn’t found in the UK yet. It doesn’t help that in 2012 the requirement for dogs entering the UK to be treated with tick protection was removed. That now means that dogs that don’t travel abroad are at just as much risk!

Last year The Big Tick Project saw the first confirmed case in the UK of Babesia Canis in dogs that have not set a paw outside of the UK. At least one dog died in the outbreak in Essex and there is concern that we will see further cases. Ticks are a serious threat and it’s up to us to protect our pets.

We wanted to help raise the awareness of ticks in the city as there is a common misconception that if you don’t walk your dog in the countryside, they are not at risk of picking up a tick. But we soon found out that that’s not the case.

Research from The Big Tick Project tells us that the widespread prevalence of ticks in the UK and the active nature of your pets puts them at risk even if you live in a low risk area like us. But don’t just take my word for it, The Big Tick Project have created an interactive heat map which is a great start to understanding the risks in your local area. Did you know that there are over 800 types of ticks?

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During Big Tick Month this May, vet practices across the country will be speaking to pet owners who come into the practice about the threat of ticks and how to stay protected whether you’re in the UK or travelling abroad with your much-loved canine companion. A list of the practices supporting Big Tick Month is available on The Big Tick Project UK threat map. You can find your nearest practice by searching your postcode.

I recently decided to take action. I initially thought that I would get Pepé some form of behind-the-counter tablet but I felt that for her safety I really needed to ask my vet for their professional opinion.

Many tick protection options require a prescription from your veterinary surgeon; these options include topicals (typically applied every 4 weeks), sprays, collars and oral chewable formulations, some of which can give up to 12-weeks of protection. Whilst I was there I picked up a tick hook which is specially designed to remove the tick safely, for you and your pet. There is a lot of helpful information on The Big Tick Project website which tells you the things to look out for.

This year, The Big Tick Project are also sponsoring Dogfest and will be giving away tickets with PetsPyjamas so you can take your dog to the best dog-friendly festival in the UK! If you’d like to enter click here and Pepé and I will see you there!

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Follow The Big Tick Project on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bigtickproject

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