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With the clocks changing this weekend, there's never been a better time to review your dog walking routine and check in on your pet's parasite plan. As milder temperatures and lighter evenings become more regular, make the most of your daily stroll with some helpful pointers on outdoor essentials, as well as some tips on preparing for flea and tick season.

Good for you, good for your dog

Getting outside in the fresh air is an instant mood lifter, especially when the sun is out. The perfect exercise to keep us fit and healthy, walking regularly and briskly will also benefit your dog, from improving their general behaviour and helping eliminate the risk of obesity, osteoarthritis and diabetes.

Be prepared

Make sure you have all you need to make the most of your walk, starting with a collar fitted with an ID tag, and a reliable lead. Whether you pick an extendable flexi option or prefer the security of a harness, feeling confident your dog is secure when walking is essential. If your dog is less keen, have some treats ready as a reward, be mindful not to give too many, but encouraging them with something tasty will reinforce a positive experience and make them more keen for walks in the future. Finally, the most essential bit of kit – poo bags! Being a responsible owner means leaving the house prepared, find plenty of options here.

Slow and steady

After months of walking in the dark and cold, it’s possible you or your dog have fallen out of the habit of walking for more than 15 minutes or so, if that’s the case it’s a good idea to observe your dog before and after walks, allowing you to gauge what is right for them. If they need some practice, start increasing the pace and distance very gradually, ensuring they’re comfortable. If they’re really struggling to embrace longer walks, bring some throw toys or a ball to make the walk more fun and extra stimulating.

For the pros

If your dog has missed long, winding walks and needs something that pushed them that extra mile, try taking them on a run with you. Read our article here for more tips on taking your dog with you when you head out for a jog.

A word on fleas and ticks

While collars and spot-on treatments are quick parasite busters, understanding the life cycle of fleas and ticks will help you prevent them altogether. Here's what you need to know.

Fleas have a four-stage life cycle: going from egg to larva to pupa and finally, to adult. As pupae (imagine a cocoon), they can patiently wait for up to one year for a host to be nearby before they become an adult. The adult flea will then attach to your pet and feed off their blood. In sum, not a pretty picture!

Ticks are small, rounded arachnids that also feed on blood. They vary in size and, when engorged, can resemble a smooth coffee bean. On your pet, you’ll find them in areas with little hair: around the ears, face or tummy. Tick season runs from March to November, so it’s important to take action now when your pet is most at risk.

Protecting your pet from fleas and ticks

Spot-on pipettes like Frontline Plus and Advantage are both great options for flea and tick prevention. In addition, a Scalibor collar will give your dog six months' protection against ticks, mosquitoes and sand flies.

For treatment, using Program and Capstar tablets in combination will kill adult fleas and stop the development of eggs. However, there are many alternative treatments available.

Regularly check your pet for ticks and, when needed, use a tick remover.

If you’re unsure about the right course of treatment for your pet, give our Animal Health Advisors a call! We’ll help you choose the right product for your furry friend.