Need-to-Know — Pests Attracted to Your Pets
Summer is a popular time for both people and pets to be active outdoors. As fun as it may be to play with your pet outside, summertime activities can create a whole new set of problems for pet owners — namely bugs on dogs, because bugs on your dog may lead to bugs inside your home. Which pests are most likely to hitch a ride with your pet back into the house?
Bugs You May Find on Your Dog
If you see small, dark colored bugs on your dog, chances are you're looking at fleas. Fleas are nasty parasites that can cause skin conditions for your dog. Fleas prefer smaller mammals, such as squirrels, raccoon and opossums. But fleas are also opportunists who will move to a larger animal host under the right circumstances. They like to hide in cool, shady spots in your yard and then jump on your dog. Once inside your home, fleas can quickly become a menace. In fact, one female flea can lay about 18 eggs a day, and just 20 fleas on a dog can produce 360 eggs per day and over 2,000 eggs in a week, quickly leading to a large infestation in your home.
While fleas will jump from animal to animal, ticks attach themselves for a period of time in order to secure a blood meal and then drop off their unsuspecting host to lay eggs. While most tick bites are generally painless, they can also be dangerous. Some species of ticks can transmit Lyme disease through biting.
Mosquitoes are mostly thought of as outdoor pests, but they can also live indoors. And it it’s not only the swollen, itchy bites delivered by female mosquitoes that you need to worry about. Mosquitoes can also carry pathogens that can cause heartworms in your pets. These parasites can grow to be a full foot long and can seriously impair the functioning of your pet's heart and lungs.
How to Help Keep Pests Outside
Short of putting a stop to all indoor-outdoor pet traffic, what can you do to help keep these bugs out of your home?
Your pet's fur can be a magnet for insects and allergens. Vacuum your house often, including your furniture — especially any items on which your pets typically lounge. Steam cleaning your house is also effective at rooting stubborn bugs (and their eggs) out of carpets, upholstery and drapes. Finally, if you know your home has fleas, empty your vacuum bag in an outdoor trash can.
Take Care of the Yard
Overgrown grass can attract ticks, so mowing the grass and keeping everything trimmed helps decrease the ability for ticks and other pests to ride on long blades of grass and hop aboard your pets in the first place. To help prevent your yard from becoming a mosquito haven, make sure to drain or break up any standing water. That means carefully monitoring your pet's outdoor water bowls and only filling them when needed or refreshing them often.
Keep Up With Monthly Flea and Tick Treatments
Whether you rely on collars, oral medication or spot treatments, consult with your veterinarian to take preventative measures to help your pet resist insect predators.