How to Keep Your Pet Pest-Free This Summer

Everyone enjoys spending time outside in the summer, including your pets. Even though it can be joyful to play with them outdoors, summer activities can also pose some concerns for pet owners.

Bugs on your dog may lead to bugs in your home, for example. So, which pests are most likely to ride along with your pet back home?

Bugs to Watch Out For If You Have Pets

There are many creepy crawlies that can make dogs and cats very ill if they bite them or get eaten. Some of them are even toxic to dogs. If you have a pet, beware of these bugs.

Fireflies, spiders, crickets, and cockroaches can make dogs really sick. Roaches eat faeces, and ingesting them can result in worms infesting your canine friend. If you have cockroaches in your house, do everything you can to eliminate them. Keep your dog away from caterpillars, too, since monarch butterfly caterpillars consume milkweed, which can be poisonous and harmful to them.

Ticks

The risk of tick bites is especially high for pets that spend considerable time outdoors, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses. Ticks are capable of transmitting Lyme disease to some pets as well as humans. Dogs suffering from Lyme disease may have a fever, decreased appetite, pain in their legs, lethargy, and swollen lymph nodes. It can lead to kidney problems in serious cases. Among the ticks most commonly found on pets in the UK are Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes hexagonus, followed by Ixodes canisuga.

Besides Lyme disease, ticks can also cause a condition called tick paralysis. If a female tick attaches near the spinal cord of a pet, it causes muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and in some cases, death due to paralysis of the chest muscles. Whenever you find a tick on your pet, you should remove it immediately, ensuring that the head and mouthparts are removed completely. It is certainly a good idea to apply flea and tick prevention products to your pet, but be sure that you are using the correct type: pet-friendly ones. In the case of a tick infestation in your home, a licensed pest control company can help you.

Caution: It’s not safe to apply human insect repellent to pets. The insect repellents we use contain DEET, which can cause serious neurologic problems in cats and dogs. Make sure you use only pest repellents that are pet-safe!

Fleas

Fleas can also affect pets, especially cats and dogs and lead to skin problems. In addition to the itchy red bumps caused by their bites, one may also have to scratch excessively. 

Furthermore, fleas are capable of causing anaemia and flea allergy dermatitis, as well as transmitting tapeworms. Such an allergic reaction can lead to your dog or cat scratching so much that their skin bleeds, resulting in sores and hairless patches. 

Whenever you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to take your dog to the vet to receive antibiotic treatment. Also, ask a veterinarian about prescription flea repellents for your pet, to prevent them from getting bitten in the future.

Check also: How to Protect Your Pets from a Flea Treatment Poisoning

They generally hide in shady, cool areas of your yard and then jump on your dog. Travel between hosts is essential for fleas to survive. Due to their impressive jumping range, these pests can easily relocate between several dogs.

As soon as fleas enter your home, they quickly become an issue. It is estimated that one female flea lays 18 eggs per day, so the quickly growing flea population raises concerns. It is always best to leave the treatment of a flea infestation to licensed pest controllers. Having the knowledge, the right tools, and experience will allow them to safely and effectively treat your property.

Check also: How Do I Get Rid of Fleas in My Garden Naturally

Stinging Insects

It is possible for some pets to be allergic to wasps and bees. Your furry friend should be taken to the veterinarian if he or she is stung. Especially if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling, seizures, or respiratory distress. 

Summer afternoons with buzzing bees or their more aggressive cousins can turn into a scary and painful experience for your pet. It is common for pets to swat and bite at flying bees, especially dogs. These insects can sting when threatened, causing painful swelling on paws, faces, or even the mouth.

Spiders

There are a few types of spiders in your home and outdoors, and some are much more dangerous than others. Several spider species have venomous bites, which can cause severe pain, inflammation, and neurological damage within minutes of being bitten. Knowing the dangers of the spiders in your area is crucial. Talk to your vet about how to recognise them.

If a bite occurs remember that the site of infection should not be licked by your pet, as this will usually worsen the situation. If you decide to treat your pet’s infection yourself, keep in mind that pets should not come into contact with topical creams or medications that are intended for humans.

How to Keep Pets Pest-Free

A preventative approach to protect your home and pets from common household insects is the most effective. The good news is that pet owners can keep their furry friends safe by following a few simple steps:

  • Check your pet thoroughly after walks or playtime outside. Be sure to brush their coat to remove debris and insects. Pests thrive in wooded areas and high grass, so keep an eye on your pet if it has been in such spots.
  • It’s a good idea to vacuum regularly, including furniture that your pets usually sit on. Steam cleaning will also remove stubborn bugs (and their eggs) from carpets and upholstered furniture. In addition, if you are aware your home has fleas, you should empty your vacuum bag into an outdoor trash can.

Check also: How to tell if you have fleas in your home

  • Using shampoo that kills pests is the best way to bathe dogs regularly.
  • Clean your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls, and sleeping areas regularly. Also, do your best to shake your dog’s bedding daily, preferably at night before he goes to sleep. Spiders, in particular, like to hide among the folds of soft fabrics.
  • Apply pest repellent designed specially for pets. The dosages and products will vary according to the species, age, weight, and so forth.
  • Keep your lawn mowed short and your garden clean to avoid pest breeding grounds. Tall grasses are a favourite hiding place for fleas and ticks.
  • Consider getting your long-haired pet groomed during the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are at their peak. Not only will this prevent insects from latching onto their long hair, but it will also keep your pet cool during the summer months when temperatures are the highest.
  • In the event that your animal begins to exhibit unusual behaviour, such as losing appetite or becoming more tired, you should see a veterinarian immediately. It is possible that this is a sign of Lyme disease or another type of health issue related to pests.

If your dog has ingested a bug or has been bitten or stung by insects, you should consult your veterinarian. In spite of following all the guidelines above, some insects will still find their way. You should contact a professional if you have any questions about bugs around your home or in your yard.

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