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Ticks on dogs and cats

How do I get rid of ticks? Are there ticks in Ireland? How can I remove a tick from my dog or cat? We are answering the most frequently asked questions about ticks and how to protect your pets from them.
Ticks on dogs and cats

Tick protection for dogs and cats 

How do I get rid of ticks? Are there ticks in Ireland? How can I remove a tick from my dog or cat? We are answering the most frequently asked questions about ticks and how to protect your pets from them.  


Protect with tick repellent 

Various products are available to help protect your dog from ticks. Some are available in pet shops and for some, you will need a prescription from your veterinarian. Tick prophylaxis (agents to prevent ticks) is available in the form of collars, spot-on drops or tablets. Avoid using your dog's tick repellent on your cat, instead choose a tick repellent that is approved to get rid of ticks on cats. 

Spot-on products against ticks 

Anti-tick spot-on products are applied directly to the dog's skin on the neck and, in some cases, the base of the tail if you have a large dog. Usually, effects of spot-on treatment last around 4 weeks. Spot-on solutions can be found in pet shops, or you can reach out to your vet for a prescription.  

Note that some spot-on medications are only suitable for dogs and can be toxic to cats. If you have both a dog and a cat, be careful not to let the cat lick the spot-on solution and isolate the cat from treated dogs until the application on the dog’s skin is fully dry.  

Tick collar 

Tick collars are placed on the dog's neck and depending on the product, are effective for up to 12 weeks. The collar should be removed when swimming to avoid endangering aquatic life in lakes, seas and other bodies of water. Note that some tick collars are intended only for dogs and may be toxic to cats. Tick collars for dogs can be purchased at pet shops and are easily available.  

Tick collars are not recommended if there are small children or other animals in the household who might play with the dog, touch the collar or put it in their mouth. Dogs wearing the collar should also not sleep in the same bed as their owner, especially not in the same bed as children. 

Tick prevention tablets 

The tablets are placed directly into the dog's mouth. The duration of the effect depends on the tablet and usually varies between 4-12 weeks. The tablets require a prescription and are prescribed by a veterinarian only. 

Tick repellent for puppies 

Some anti-tick products can only be used on puppies after a certain age (rarely before the 8th week), and many of these preparations require that the puppy have reached a certain body weight. It is therefore read the package leaflet to find out from what age and weight the product can be used. 

Different tick repellents are suitable for different dogs 

Remember to choose the product that suits your dog. Factors that can help determine which product is best for your dog are:  

  • Illnesses/hypersensitivities
  • Side effects/environmental aspects
  • Fur of the dog
  • Children in the household
  • Other pets (e.g. cats, puppies, etc.)
  • Consider the local tick presence and associated diseases to determine the best product for your dog. 

Whenever in doubt, ask your local vet.  

How to remove a tick 

The easiest way to remove a tick is to use a tick remover. There is a wide range of hooks, tweezers, loops and pliers. Tweezers are easy to use but be aware that tweezers can crush the tick. A tick twister can be used to remove ticks by pulling a loop around the tick's head. But for smaller ticks that are difficult to remove due to their size, a hook usually works best. 

Steps to remove a tick:  

1. Choose a tick remover of the right size.  

2. Place the gripper under the tick, as close to the skin as possible, to remove it.  

3. If the tick is not completely removed, the head may remain, causing a local reaction that disappears within a few days once the rest of the tick is removed. 

What time of year do ticks become active? 

Ticks become active when it is warmer than 7°C. Below this temperature, the small arachnids go into hibernation. As a rough guide, tick season lasts from February to the end of October. The greatest tick activity can be observed during spring and autumn. 

Do you find ticks in Ireland? 

Ticks are commonly found throughout Ireland, particularly in areas with long grass, fields, parks, woodlands, and forests. 

Where do ticks settle on dogs? 

It can be difficult to spot ticks, especially if your dog has long, thick fur. That's why it is important to check your pet's coat regularly, especially after walks in the woods or after walking through tall grass. 

Tick diseases and symptoms 

Most ticks are not disease vectors, but the longer the tick remains on the dog, the greater the risk of your dog becoming sick. The most common tick-borne infection that causes symptoms in dogs is anaplasmosis. 

Anaplasmosis (formerly called Ehrlichia) 

A bacterial infection that primarily affects dogs. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle soreness and fever. Cats can also be infected, but usually show milder symptoms. 

Lyme disease 

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that can infect dogs but rarely causes symptoms. About 5% of infected dogs become ill; this is even rarer for cats. 


TBE is caused by ticks that carry the TBE virus. The infection is transmitted through a bite. Dogs can become infected with the TBE virus, but rarely develop symptoms. TBE is more common in some areas. Here, people can protect themselves through vaccination, but there is no vaccine for animals. 


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