Are Bugs Dangerous to Your Pets?

While few begrudge the warmer weather of spring and summer, the increase in temperature means that many areas will see an influx of bugs.

dog in yard

Most humans are well versed on the dangers of Zika or Chagas disease, so they know what steps to take to try to prevent insect bites. What you might not know, however, is that some insects can also be harmful to your pets.

Learn about several of the more common insects that can cause problems for your furry friends, and then get the facts about pet-friendly insect control. 

Mosquitoes

You might think mosquitoes cause nothing but some uncomfortable itching for your pets. However, they can actually make your pets very ill as mosquitoes can transmit heartworm larvae to dogs and cats. This is especially true of mosquito bites on dogs, as cats are atypical hosts of these parasites. Don’t take that to mean Kitty can’t get infected, though. It’s also important to know that if heartworm disease isn’t treated in dogs, it can be fatal in severe cases. Unfortunately, there is no approved treatment method for cats, which means working with your vet to take preventative steps is crucial.

Ticks

You probably know that certain species of ticks can carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease. This infection can also be transmitted to dogs and cats via tick bites. If left uncontrolled, Lyme disease can result in joint damage, heart complications, kidney failure and neurological dysfunction. Cats tend to be more resistant to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, but that doesn’t mean they are immune. And ticks can carry pathogens that cause other serious diseases to animals.

Fleas

If you’ve ever had a pet that was infested with fleas, you know how difficult the problem can be to control. And a flea problem can be sheer torture for your cat or dog. Would you want to be constantly bitten and itchy? Itchiness is only the tip of the iceberg as vigorous scratching can result in open wounds that become vulnerable to staph infections. Fleas can also be carriers of other infectious agents such as tapeworms or the bacteria that causes cat-scratch fever in humans. Additionally, flea infestations can cause anemia in puppies and kittens.

What You Need to Know about Pet-Friendly Insect Control

There are many products on the market that claim to be the best method of pet-friendly insect control. However, there are three things you need to keep in mind when deciding how to protect your pet from pests:

Consult with your veterinarian.

You should consult with your veterinarian before using any repellents on your pet, especially before using an insect repellent made for humans. Chemicals that are approved for human use are not necessarily safe for animals, and this is true even if you use an all-natural form of pest control. Likewise, different animals have different biological makeups, so you should never use mosquito control for dogs on a cat and so forth.

Ask your vet for pet-friendly insect control.

Dosages and products will vary based on an animal’s age, weight, species and so on. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend products that will help keep your pets safe from bugs without making them ill.

Birds are especially sensitive to even the fumes of certain products.

If your vet prescribes a spray or drops for one of your four-legged friends, make sure you ask if there are any precautions you need to take to help keep your bird healthy.

When the weather warms up this year, make sure your pets are protected, too. Speak with your veterinarian to determine what sort of pet-friendly insect control will work best for your pet’s lifestyle. 

 

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