How and where do dogs get ticks?

We want to protect the dogs in our lives from anything that can cause them harm, including parasites like ticks. Understanding where ticks come from, how they end up on our dogs and what we can do about it helps us keep our four-legged friends feeling happy and healthy – just the way we want them.

How it happens

Ticks find their host (the person or animal that will provide their next blood meal) by waving their forelimbs in the air while positioned right at the tip of grasses and plants. This is called ‘questing’. When a dog (or other animal) brushes past, the tick grabs hold of their hair and moves through it, before biting the skin to attach themselves firmly. Prime places to find ticks, particularly on dogs, include between the toes, under elbows and around the ears.


Where do dogs tend to get ticks?

The pesky parasites are hard to avoid as they’re found in most places rich in vegetation, including:

  • parks
  • gardens
  • woods
  • meadows
  • fields, with or without cattle
  • sand dunes
  • heathland.

Tick hotspots

Many popular UK holiday destinations have high numbers of the blood-thirsty beasts, including Exmoor, the New Forest, the South Downs, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands.

What types of tick are there?

Several species of tick call the UK home. Ixodes ricinus (sometimes called the sheep tick) is the most common UK tick and can carry Lyme disease.

Dermacentor reticulatus is another type. This species is currently found in Essex, Wales, the South East and South West, and can transmit a dangerous parasite called Babesia that can cause serious illness in dogs – and can even be fatal.

Many ticks carry some kind of infectious disease that can harm our dogs. Plus, ticks can cause irritation or abscesses where they attach to the skin.

What do ticks look like?

Ticks are arachnids and have eight legs. They can be as tiny as a sesame seed before feeding, making them hard to spot. Once they feed, they can grow up to 200 times their original size, making them as big as a coffee bean.


What to do if you find a tick

If we spot one of these parasites on our dogs, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. The best way to do this is using a tick remover tool to gently twist the tick out. Always wear gloves when you do this – you don’t want to be the new host! Don’t apply alcohol, oil, heat, petroleum jelly or squeeze a tick, as this increases the risk of them passing on any infections they’re carrying to your poor pet.

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Take your dog’s parasite protection to the next level

FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® has a unique formula that kills faster1 and repels more2 disease-carrying parasites than the next leading competitor brand.


1 Compared to next leading non-prescription competitor brand and when used monthly.

2 Compared to next leading non-prescription competitor brand with repellent activity.

How to help keep our dogs safe

It’s not necessary to avoid places where our dogs can pick up ticks. These are usually places they’ll enjoy visiting and it’s good for them to be active and out in the fresh air. Instead, we need to check our dogs regularly for ticks, especially after they’ve been in areas with lots of vegetation. As ticks can be tricky to spot and pose a danger, it’s advisable to regularly use a tick treatment to kill any pesky pests that might be lurking on our dogs. FRONTLINE TRI-ACT® for dogs kills new ticks within 6 hours and also repels them, which helps to prevent them from biting your dog in the first place.

Knowing how and where our dogs pick up ticks helps us keep our precious pets protected, so we can enjoy lovely long walks with our dogs without too many worries.

Get answers from the experts

Got a question about fleas, ticks or worms? We can help! Take a look at our FAQs or send us a message.

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