Ticks in The City
It’s Big Tick Month! May is the National Tick Awareness Month (yes that’s a real thing!)
We were contacted by The Big Tick Project to raise awareness of ticks in the city. It’s easy to forget about ticks in cities like London that are medium/low risk. But this doesn’t mean ticks aren’t there waiting to cause trouble. If we aren’t vigilant with preventative treatments (ask your vet there are lots of options like collars & orally chewable tablets that can give your dog up to 12 weeks protection) & checking for them both our dogs & whole families could be in danger of getting severely ill. Ticks & the diseases they spread are one of those rare instances where dogs & humans can both get sick. We have wanted to do a little bit about one of the Royal Parks in London – Richmond Park for a long time. We headed out for a walk & a swim!
Richmond Park with The Big Tick Project
Richmond Park is one of the most beautiful Royal Parks in London. Kept almost entirely natural there is a large deer population living inside. I feel very privileged to have been able to spend my teenage years riding around the park with my horses. Cycling around the park is a very popular activity but overwhelmingly walking within this park is a privilege Londoners hold dear. You could hardly believe you are still in London. There is one special spot within the park, where on top of the hill you can see the city of London. Seeing the Shard reminds you how close you are to the city.
A special place to visit within the park is Isabella Plantation! A beautiful garden of flowers, plants and birds. The Royal Ballet School is situated in a grand white building within the park. You can also find cafes/restaurants to visit on the edges of the park.
Thanks to the research conducted by The Big Tick Project which is a collaboration between Bristol University & MSD Animal health it has become apparent that the tick population is growing across the UK at a much faster pace than had been expected. Studies have shown that the tick population in Great Britain has grown 73% over ten years. Ticks have adapted and began to feed earlier in the year, making them even more of a threat. Our warm & wet winters have been identified as a possible reason for this expansion in the tick population. Their distributional area has also increased by 17% in the same timeframe meaning that in areas such as London where previously ticks may have been rare one could now expect to find them more often.
You can search for your city on their website to see what types of ticks live near you (there are 800 types!!) & if there are common diseases that spread from them in your area. If you are thinking of going on holiday within the UK this can be a great way to familiarise yourself to your dogs new walking grounds! Always great to know what to keep an eye out for!
Having grown up in Richmond all of our family dogs learned how to swim in the lakes of Richmond Park! My very first dog actually got attacked by a swan in one of the lakes a good 20 years ago, must be one of my earliest memories! Amelia is the first dog I’ve had that learned how to swim in Hyde Park. Well actually… don’t laugh but Amelia initially learned how to swim in a hydro therapy swimming pool! She was splashing around with her life vest on! After learning in the swimming pool she was really excited to swim in Hyde Park t00.
The twin lakes in the middle of the park get deep slowly & the water is nice and clean. It’s definitely my favourite spot to take Amelia swimming. They are surrounded by long grass though & are definitely a tick danger zone.
National Tick Awareness Month
In the spirit of National Tick Awareness Month vet practises are geared up to help owners understand more about ticks. While I too love herbal remedies this is one instance where simply using cedar wood oil shampoo etc won’t be enough. It is important to not only use prescription treatments from the vet but also check your dogs regularly for ticks. New research by the Big Tick team showed that 1 in 3 dogs examined by vets involved in the project had a tick on them.
I remember the first time I found a tick (on my horse actually!) I literally could not get the little bugger off him & had no idea how to dispose of it. Basically you need tweezers to get a good grip on a tick. You can get specialised kits online that can be really useful, here is an example. Make sure to dispose of the tick hygienically (I flush them down the toilet) & don’t let them back into the wild even if you (like me) feel bad killing the little thing.
We urge you to look at the Big Tick Project website & speak to your vet to learn more about ticks & the diseases they spread. After all your dog will always look after you, won’t you look after him too?
Eva & Amelia ♥