How to Protect Your Pets from Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes This Summer
By: Rita Stadler
Preventing mosquito bites and protecting your family from the Zika Virus is a hot topic this summer. Despite all the current buzz about biting bugs this summer, our furry family members have been left out of the conversation. Disease spreading insects don’t care if they are biting you or your dog so pet-safe pest control is vitally important.
Biting insects create threats for pets and people alike
Getting outside is a great way to stay healthy and have fun with your furry, four-legged friends. Warm weather is perfect for swimming, hiking, or a Frisbee game at the park but itchy bug bites can be a real summer bummer. What’s worse are some of the diseases that blood-feeding insects can spread. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are the most bothersome bugs for pets and their people.
Some of the diseases spread by biting insects only affect animals, like heartworm; while others like plague, can be transmitted to humans and animals alike. There is still a lot to learn about Zika virus. We don’t currently know its full threat level for animals, but avoiding mosquito bites is the best form of protection for people and pets.
Prevent pests to protect your pets
Prevention is the best way to keep your pets and yourself safe from biting bugs.
Fleas: Dogs and cats can get fleas from being outside, or from contact with other animals. If your pet brings fleas into your home, they can quickly multiply and infest bedding, carpet, furniture and clothing.
- Discuss flea prevention with your vet to determine if a flea collar or medication is appropriate.
- Vacuum carpet and furniture regularly.
- Wash bedding, clothing, and plush pet toys frequently.
- Give your pet regular baths using a vet recommended natural shampoo during tick season and perform regular visual inspections to prevent fleas.
Ticks: Ticks can feed on the blood of birds, animals and people. Ticks sit on tree branches, bushes, and long grass waiting for a warm meal to pass by. A tick is very small and can attach itself to a person or pet without being noticed for a long time, so frequent inspections are important.
- Consult with your vet about tick prevention for your pets.
- Check yourself and your pets for ticks after being outdoors, paying special attention to hidden areas near the ears and under long hair or fur.
- Keep your yard trimmed and make the area less tick friendly.
Mosquitoes: These small insects are the most dangerous of all. Mosquitoes spread a number of diseases that affect millions of people around the world, and their rapid reproduction rate makes them difficult to control.
- Using bug spray to repel mosquitoes is a good way to prevent bites, but always discuss this with your vet first. While many experts claim DEET is safe and effective for people, it can have adverse effects on cats and dogs.
- When possible, avoid the outdoors during dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Drain standing water from around your home to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds. Change pet water daily. Don’t overlook small puddles under air conditioners, in clogged rain gutters, or even flower pots. Zika Virus carrying Mosquitos will lay their eggs in as little as a few tablespoons of water, and the larvae will hatch in as little as a week.
Protecting people and pets from pest problems is part of earthkind®’s mission. Follow us on Facebook for easy tips and tricks to help you have a happy, healthy home. Subscribe to our newsletter for the best resources to make DIY pest control safe and effective.