Unfortunately, your pet is just as susceptible as you are in terms of being exposed to the variety of irritations and diseases caused by certain pests. The same precautions that are used to protect you from pests should be considered for your pets as well. Let’s look at some of the more common issues:
- Biting and Stinging Pests: These include mosquitoes, ants, wasps, hornets and spiders. Depending on the type, bites and stings typically swell and cause discomfort but are not of serious concern. However, multiple bites, or bites from a poisonous spider or vector (disease carrying) mosquito could lead to wheezing, a fast pulse, unconsciousness or even collapsing. There are organic pest control products on the market in the form of sprays and shampoos that would be the best way to protect your pet from biting and stinging pests.
- Ticks: Lyme disease is the biggest concern when it comes to ticks. Ticks live in areas with long grass, shrubs and other greens. Therefore, when your pet is enjoying the outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to come in contact with ticks. When removing a tick from your animal, be careful that you don’t leave the ticks head behind. There are several options for protecting your animal from ticks. As noted above, topical products such as sprays and shampoos, as well as collars can act as tick repellents.
- Fleas: Beyond the obvious discomfort of flea bites, fleas can also transfer immature tapeworms into your animal. Flea eggs can be deposited in your yard by a variety of wildlife including raccoons, skunks, opossums, etc. Keeping your lawn, bushes and trees trimmed back is a great way to help control outdoor flea populations. There are also homemade flea traps that can be made and used in your yard to control fleas. Flea powders, sprays, dips, collars, shampoos and oral medications can also be used on your animal to prevent fleas and flea bites.
- Bed Bugs: These pesky critters are the fastest growing pest problem in the world and they are no respecter of person, place or pet. Bed bugs feed on a blood source so your pet can be just as prone to bed bug bites as you are. Bed bug families tend to prefer the blood of a specific host species, but growing populations can put enough pressure to alter tastes and preferences. Bed bug bites resemble other bug bites and reactions can vary. Fortunately, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit diseases but they are pests of significant public health concern. Bed bugs don’t live on pets as fleas or ticks would, bed bugs are just looking to feed from a blood source and then leave to a place of shelter. In the event of a bed bug situation, launder your pet’s bedding, clothing and toys in the hottest temperature settings (minimum 120 degree Fahrenheit). If you are transporting the bedding to the laundry, avoid further spreading of the bed bugs by putting all bed bug infested items in a plastic bag that can seal shut. If the pet’s materials cannot be washed, put them in a dryer at medium to high heat for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Rodents: Mice, voles, and rats can be and bring various threats to your pet’s environment. Mice can carry disease that may be spread through their urine, feces, or a bite to your pet. These rodents may contaminate the pet eating, drinking, or sleeping area, or they may contaminate an entire container of food. Practicing principles of tidiness and regularly monitoring rodent activity are the best 1st steps in keeping your pets safe and protected from rodents.
As the same preventative pest measures are taken to protect our pets as we would ourselves, we decrease the likelihood of causing our pets any discomfort or more serious disease. A professional pest control service can also treat for these pests in a proactive manner to make it even less likely of an unwanted encounter with pests.