Long walks in the countryside, games of ball in the park, warm evenings relaxing in the garden - there are a million reasons why we and our dogs love the summer.

However, the increase in a number of irritating parasites is certainly not one of them. As the warm weather arrives, fleas and ticks become more active and many dog owners find that their pets are pestered by the annoying bugs.

But just because fleas and ticks are fairly common does not mean that they should ever be tolerated. While ticks have been linked to Lyme disease - a bacterial infection that can be passed on to humans - Nancy Hinkle, an entomologist from the University of Georgia, points out that fleas are also active in spreading disease.

"An infected flea can pass on tapeworm if a dog happens to swallow a flea while using its teeth to scratch, but the tapeworm is not transmitted if the flea only bites the dog," she told the Dog Daily.

"Some animals are also highly sensitive to flea saliva, which can lead to secondary infections and dermatitis from incessant itching."

Although there are numerous treatments ranging from special collars and pills to chewable tablets that are available over the counter and promise to tackle fleas and ticks, the best course of action when looking to beat the parasites is to consult with your vet who can tell you what will work best for your pooch.

It is also essential to check your dog thoroughly for parasites, ideally when giving them a groom. Choose a time when your pup is calm and if necessary use a couple of dry dog food treats to ensure that the experience is a good one for your pet. Then carefully check each area of their body including the ears, paws and tail, keeping an eye out for anything that looks or feels unusual.

Written by: Hannah