5 ways to protect your pets from insects
How to keep your pets happy, not itchy or scratchy, during pest season.
Shampoo early and often
It’s your best defense against pests who want to make their home underneath your pet’s fur or skin.
Take note: Dogs with loose facial skin or wrinkles need extra scrubbing. Accompanying the grooming should be a detailed examination of the pads of their feet to remove any debris and to check for ticks or other pests under those tufts of fur. Why is this important? Pests are drawn to blood, so closing those wounds is critical.
Indoors at dawn and dusk
Many mosquitoes are active in the early morning and early evening, so try to keep your pets inside during those times to keep exposure to a minimum.
Make sure your lawn isn’t a hairy mess
Pests such as ticks live in tall grass or edges of lawn that are kept wild. As we all know, pets are not known for keeping on the sidewalk; they like to explore and take side routes onto grass and into shrubs or undergrowth. Make sure your pet’s visits to those areas are brief. Keep your own grass low along the sidewalk and fence line and around sheds, trees, grills, furniture, recycling bins, and swing sets. Ticks can carry serious ailments like Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis, so flattening grassy areas where these bloodsuckers live is an important step.
Tidy up inside and out
A clean house is the best way to make sure pests can’t nest and breed. That means vacuuming carpets, floors, furniture, and even bedding on a regular basis. Repair torn screens in windows and on doors. Unclog gutters and remove any outside surfaces where rainwater may accumulate. Also, change water bowls frequently. You don’t want mosquitoes breeding anywhere near where your pets play. So empty flowerpots, birdbaths, and swimming pool covers—and even the area around your outdoors faucet and sprinkler system.
Check frequently for fleas and ticks
Outside time in the summer is the ideal setting for ticks and fleas. Their miniscule presence underneath fur and onto skin means you need to be vigilant in checking, not just for the pests themselves, but also for signs of their presence. Look for excessive scratching and licking or other signals your pet is unusually irritated after a run in the park or a romp through the local woods.
If you find a tick, make sure you remove it immediately the right way, following these steps recommended by the CDC: Use forceps or tweezers to grab hold with a slow, steady pull to ensure a full removal with nothing left attached. Once gone, flush it down the toilet or wrap it thoroughly in tissue to throw in the trash. Always wash hands afterwards.
For fleas, some health departments and medical professionals recommend dabbing them with cotton balls soaked in alcohol, then dumping the fleas into a cup of water allowing them to drown.
Keeping your pets happy and healthy is critical for them, but also for you. Follow these tips to ensure you have many more seasons to enjoy together.
Disclaimer: This is provided for your information only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please contact your vet.