- Video report by ITV News Correspondent Martha Fairlie
Almost a third of dogs checked at random during visits to the vets were found to be carrying a tick, researchers claim.
In the biggest ever study of ticks in dogs across the UK, researchers also found that dogs are as likely to pick up ticks in urban areas as in rural parts.
Ticks carry a range of diseases, which include Lyme disease and potentially fatal canine babesiosis.
Lyme disease has the potential to cause serious health problems, such as meningitis and heart failure, while in the most serious cases it can be fatal.
Bristol University examined 15,000 dogs during its study last year.
They found that 31% of dogs checked during random visits to vets were carrying a tick.
Researchers also determined that ticks are present across many parts of the UK.
The highest risk areas, they concluded, were Scotland, East Anglia and the South West.
However, ticks can be as prevalent in urban areas as in rural areas, researchers said.
"The work that we have carried out shows that ticks are extremely widely dispersed", said Professor Richard Wall, who led the project.
"The records that we have got appear to show that we have had an increase in tick numbers right across the country".
Professor Wall added that what experts are primary concerned with now are the diseases ticks carry.
- How do I know if my dog has ticks?
Ticks can be easily found.
Simply run your hand over the body of your dog and check for any lumps or bumps.
Ticks usually attach themselves to the area around the feet, head, neck and ear and are roughly 1mm to 1cm in length.
They look like small white spiders with an egg-shaped body, which grows and gets darker as it fills with blood.
- How to get rid of ticks
Twisting them off with tweezers is perhaps the best method. Pet shops also sell tick-removal devices.
Be careful not to let the tick's head get stuck inside your dog, or squeeze the tick's body.
Ask your vet for advice.
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