Pets and Pests

 

This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue


Photo by Pixabay

The Importance of Protecting Your Pets From Pests

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with your pets, but you also need to be extra vigilant about protecting your pets from pests when the weather is warmer. Fleas, ticks, and
mosquitoes aren’t just annoying – they can cause serious health issues for your pets. Luckily,
there are plenty of ways that you can protect your pets, keeping them healthy through the
season, as well as the rest of the year.

Protecting Your Pet From Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks can make your pet itchy and uncomfortable, but the ASPCA notes that they carry more serious health threats, too. Fleas have life spans ranging from just 13 days to 12
months, and they can produce millions of offspring during that time. When fleas infest a dog or a cat, they leave behind flea eggs and cause itchy, red spots on your pet.

Because fleas can ingest up to 15 times their weight in blood, pets with heavy infestations can
be at risk of anemia. Some pets are sensitive to fleas and may develop flea allergy dermatitis,
an uncomfortable allergic reaction. If your pet swallows a flea that’s infected with tapeworm
larvae, your pet can develop tapeworms. Tapeworms can cause your pet to lose weight and will
need to be treated with a medication called praziquantel.

According to the ASPCA, ticks also threaten your pet’s health. Ticks can cause blood loss and
anemia in pets and can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and cytauxzoonosis. Lyme
disease often presents with symptoms such as fever, lethargy, appetite loss, and painful joints,
but it can be treated with antibiotics. Cytauxzoonosis is a lethal and incurable disease present in
the Southern states that progresses in just a few weeks.

To keep your pet safe from fleas and ticks, purchase a quality flea and tick preventative from
your vet. Preventatives for dogs cannot be used on cats, so be sure to ask your vet about the
specific product that’s best for your pet and your household. You can also use many natural
methods
to protect your pet from fleas and ticks.

If you experience a flea infestation in your home, you’ll need to be aggressive in cleaning your
home, thoroughly vacuuming items like your couch and crevices between floorboards, and
washing your pet’s bedding weekly. You can also use a flea comb to physically remove fleas
from your pet’s coat.

Be vigilant about removing ticks from your pets promptly, and check your pets for ticks daily.
Mow your lawn regularly and remove tall weeds to discourage ticks from making your lawn their home.

Protecting Your Pet From the Dangers of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease to both cats and dogs, creating a serious health threat. If a mosquito consumes blood from an animal infected with heartworms, it can pick up baby heartworms. Then, the mosquito transmits these heartworms into the blood of the next animal it bites. Within about six months, those worms grow into adult heartworms, which can cause heart and lung damage, heart failure, and even death.

Both cats and dogs are affected by heartworm disease. It’s difficult to identify heartworm
disease in cats, and there is currently no medication available to treat heartworm disease in
cats. Treating heartworm disease in dogs is an expensive, complicated, and risky process. This
means that heartworm prevention is essential in both cats and dogs.

Mosquitoes transmit additional diseases too, including West Nile virus, which can affect dogs
and cats. Dogs with West Nile virus do not show signs of the disease, but cats may develop a
fever and be less active than normal. While mosquitoes do not transmit HIV they can transmit diseases such as malaria and Zika to humans, but these do not affect your pets.

To protect your pet against heartworms, have your pet tested for heartworm disease first. Then,
your vet can recommend an appropriate heartworm preventative, which may be a pill, ointment, or injection. You can also remove any standing water from your yard to reduce the mosquito population, and your vet may recommend a mosquito repellent made for pets for an added level of protection.

Prevention Is Worth the Cost

Purchasing flea and tick treatments and heartworm preventative might not be cheap, but it’s a
worthwhile investment in your pet’s health. The cost of these preventatives is far less than the
cost of an emergency vet visit, heartworm treatment, or supporting your pet through an illness.
Taking these steps to keep your pet healthy can save you money while also keeping your pets
healthy and happy
.

There are many ways that you can help to prevent illnesses and injuries in your pet. Creating a pet-friendly backyard can keep your pet safe right at home, and keeping your pet’s vaccinations, flea/tick treatment and heartworm preventative up to date are important measures for your pet’s health.

Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.