Flea, Tick and Mosquito Prevention for Dogs and Cats
Preventing mosquito and tick bites and protecting your family from diseases these pests carry, like Zika Virus or Lyme disease, is always a hot topic. Despite all the buzz about avoiding biting bugs during the summer, our furry family members are often left out of the conversation. As pet owners know, disease-spreading insects don’t care if they are biting you or your dog, so pet-safe pest control is vitally important.
Follow along as we go over how to protect your pets from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes during the summer season.
Biting Insects Create Threats for Pets and People
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 both pets and 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.
How to Protect Your Pets from Pests
Prevention is the best way to keep your pets and yourself safe from biting bugs. There are options to consider for tick and flea treatments for your dogs and cats, but it’s best to talk to your veterinarian.
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 into an infestation and invade your bedding, carpet, furniture, and clothing. Here are a few tips on how to keep fleas away from your pets:
- Discuss the best flea prevention method for your pet with your vet. Options typically include flea collars, medication, or natural flea repellents that include ingredients such as essential oils. Methods are often needed year-round, though the risk may be higher during warmer months.
- Vacuum carpet and furniture regularly.
- Wash bedding, clothing, and plush pet toys frequently.
- Give your pet regular baths using a vet-recommended natural cat or dog shampoo during tick season and perform regular visual inspections to prevent fleas.
Ticks can feed on the blood of birds, animals, and people and can pass on dangerous diseases during the process. They sit on tree branches, bushes, and long grass waiting for a warm meal to pass by. They are very small and can easily attach themself to a person or pet without being noticed for a long time. Inspecting your pet frequently is key, and if you’re using a tick treatment, keeping up with the recommended application is also important. Here are a few other tips to consider:
- Consult with your vet about tick prevention methods for your pets to determine which would be the best approach. There are collars, chewable medications, and even natural methods for tick control to keep these pests away from your dogs and cats.
- 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.
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. They don’t avoid your pets, either. There are mosquito repellents available for people, but what about your furry friends? Here are a few tips to help protect them:
- 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’s 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.