Summer is the season when bugs are out in full force, and no family member is more susceptible than your pets. All the insects that can bug us while we’re relaxing outdoors can also annoy, and even harm, our furry friends.
Keep reading to get tips on how to keep pets and their outdoor living spaces free of insects.
Mosquitoes pose a danger to pets just as they do for humans but for different reasons. If a cat or dog is bitten by an infected mosquito they can get heartworms. It’s a condition that can cause major damage to organs and kill a pet if it isn’t treated in time. Animals can also potentially become infected with West Nile Virus.
Unfortunately, the southeast is the most impacted area where pets are likely to become infected after a mosquito bite. In addition to standard mosquito control you can take a few extra precautions to protect your beloved pets.
First and foremost, it’s important to give pets a monthly heartworm medication. Some flea and tick medications now protect against mosquitoes as well. You’ll also need to refresh your pet’s outdoor water bowl several times during the day so mosquitoes don’t lay eggs.
Absolutely don’t use DEET products on animals. Unlike humans, DEET can cause neurological problems in dogs and cats.
If you’ve noticed your pets excessively scratching you know it’s time for flea control. These little bloodsuckers just love to feast on dogs and cats, which cause a fair amount of suffering during the summer when fleas are running rampant. They can also give an animal tapeworms and cause painful skin irritation.
The best way to keep pets flea-free during the summer is a good flea treatment. There are plenty of options: sprays, washes, ointments, pills and collars. If you’re worried about forgetting a round of treatment or don’t want to go through the motions every day, Seresto makes a flea collar that can provide up to 8 months of protection. However, the effectiveness can be degraded if the collar gets wet.
You can also treat their outdoor bedding and the yard with flea control products for extra protection. Read the directions very carefully – most require that pets not be exposed to treated areas for a specific amount of time.
Ticks are another insect that can cause health problems for pets. When you’re considering your flea control options look for products that also repel ticks. Even if you’re using a treatment it’s best to check pets for ticks daily so you can remove them quickly if they do latch on.
A tick scoop or tweezers can be used to remove the tick, but you have to be very careful to get out the head that’s embedded under the skin. You can also try soaking a cotton ball in dish soap and completely covering the tick. Often this will get the tick to loosen its grip so it’s easier to remove.
Flies are yet another insect that can drive pets insane during the summer. They particularly like to buzz around and bite dogs’ ears. There are a number of fly repellent sprays that can be used to give your pet some relief. Many dog owners also swear by petroleum jelly. Simply smear the petroleum jelly on their ears, being careful not to get any down in the ear canal.
You’ll also need to keep the yard clean. Dog poop will attract flies just as much as dog food that gets left out.
Many dogs like to dig. When they see a fresh mound of dirt that ants painstakingly collected for their bed, they just can’t resist checking it out. That can lead to a number of painful ant bites. The only real precaution pet owners can take is to eliminate the ants in the first place. Be diligent about finding the beds before your pets do and using a safe treatment to get rid of them.
You’ll also need to keep pet food in a sealed container so it doesn’t attract ants. If your pets don’t eat their food right away pick up their bowls and bring them inside where ants can’t get to it.
Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. can help pet owners with pest control in Central Alabama. For more than 50 years we’ve helped people protect all their family members with treatments that are completely safe and effective at controlling insects. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment give us a call!