Whether you’re firing up the grill or heading to the lake, it doesn’t take long to notice that annoying “bzzzzz” near your ear. That’s right! Bugs and parasites are out in full force, and nearly everyone is gearing up with lotions, sprays, and citronella candles to keep them away.
Parasite prevention should also be a no-brainer for our pets. Not only are parasites annoying, but they’re also dangerous, carrying diseases that can harm both pets and people. To fully prepare pet owners, the team at Eagle Spirit Mobile Veterinary Practice is offering up some suggestions on how to protect your furry pal.
Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes…Oh My!
It’s a given that these insects are a problem for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Spreading illnesses like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and even the plague, you may be wondering how you’ll ever enjoy summer this year. Unfortunately, these foes threaten your pet’s health, as well.
Fleas – Fleas may only seem like an itchy annoyance, but in all actuality, they can bring big trouble when they hitch a ride on your pet. A female flea can lay over 500 eggs in her lifetime and proliferate at a rapid rate. If you’ve ever experienced an infestation, you know how difficult it can be to rid them of your home. This wingless insect is also responsible for tapeworm and cat scratch fever. Many pets suffer from flea bite dermatitis, an allergic reaction to flea saliva.
Ticks – Most of us are somewhat familiar with tick-borne illnesses, specifically Lyme disease. Ticks can also transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. Along with your pet, you risk exposing your family to harm if your pet is not on a preventive, as these conditions can affect humans, as well.
Mosquitoes – Mosquitoes spread heartworms, which are responsible for one of the more common deadly diseases among dogs and cats. Heartworm disease is both painful and expensive, and there’s no treatment for it in cats (usually leading to death).
The Solution? Parasite Prevention
Here are a few simple ways to keep these annoying and potentially deadly pests at bay:
- Keep your pet on a flea, tick, and heartworm preventive year-round. Yes, bugs are worse in the spring and summer, but warmer than average temps have led us to see more and more parasites during the winter, as well. Consequently, don’t skip a month or delay a dose. This is particularly true for heartworm medication.
- Check for fleas and ticks. Periodically inspect your pet’s coat for signs of parasites. Always check for ticks after being outside. To remove a tick, grab it by the base where it’s attached to the skin; using a tweezer, pull straight out (don’t twist). Once they’re attached, it takes a few days for Lyme disease to be transmitted, so make sure to check for ticks each time your dog goes outside.
- Minimize exposure. Prevent your pet from wandering through grassy areas, tall weeds, and other places where ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas can hide.
- Dump out any standing water on your property. This includes even the tiniest bit of water in a plant container or pot.