We humans take pride in our residences. We clean, we mow, we paint, we cook, we garden, we tinker. Some find these endeavors painful, others challenging, and still others enjoyable. Whatever your thoughts are about cleaning house, planting and maintaining gardens, tidying up the garage, or trimming the yard, keep in mind some of the items we use for those jobs can help our dogs and cats.
Throughout our homes, garages, and yards there are hazards. Below are six toxins found around our homes that are harmful to dogs and cats:
Securing these items, whether on shelf, behind a locked door, or fenced off, will help prevent dire illness, even death, of your furry friends.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) maintains an extensive list of pet toxins. They also service a pet poison hotline; that number is (888) 426-4435. And, they provide a mobile app.
As summer arrives and we spend more time sprucing up our homes, yards, garages, and outbuildings, may we keep in mind the safety of our beloved animals.
Last week, I highlighted some of the pesky pests that can harm our pets. With summer on its way and our anticipation of spending more time outdoors, I thought it good to focus on one of the most prevalent tick diseases that affects both people and pets: Lyme disease.
Lyme disease in humans
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease in humans are reported annually by health departments in each state and the District of Columbia. However, the CDC believes as many as 10x that number (or 300,000) could actually be infected.
The most prevalent areas for this illness are the New England and Mid-Atlantic states as well as the Upper Northern area of America, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. However, nearly every state has had at least one case in recent years.
Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the culprits of infecting someone with Lyme disease. Symptoms of this illness include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
Lyme disease in pets
This bacterial disease gets into the bloodstream through the bite and attachment of a tick. The bacteria often travels to various parts of the body, causing problems in organs, joints and other areas.
Veterinarians recommend pet owners check their pets for ticks every time the animals are outdoors and remove the tiny, pesky creatures as soon as they are found. Preventative care is also advised. There are many anti-tick products available, so please talk with your veterinarian about the best choice for the area in which you live.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), symptoms of the disease in pets include fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, loss of appetite, and lameness. Our animals, however, may not show symptoms for two to five months.
Veterinarian use two different blood tests to confirm Lyme disease. Treatment for the illness includes use of antibiotics for at least 30 days. Some experts believe 50 to 75 percent of dogs in New England test positive for Lyme disease.
Although Lyme disease is not common in cats, if they roam outdoors for any length of time in tick-infested areas, felines can become infected if ticks are not removed. Lameness is a common symptom cat owners may notice, but sometimes cats don’t exhibit problems if they are infected.
Can people get Lyme disease from their pets?
According to the CDC, “Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals.”
There are other illnesses spread by ticks to humans and animals, depending on the area where they live and the type of ticks that inhabit those areas.
These are serious diseases for people and animals. Therefore, do your best to protect your beloved furry friends and yourself this summer from blood-sucking, disease-bearing ticks!
As warmer, wetter weather of spring wiggles its way into the season of summer, pet parents need to be more wary of the pesky pests that can harm our beloved pets. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes carry diseases that are not only harmful, but can be deadly.
These tiny creatures are believed to be the most common external parasite found on dogs and cats – and they can invade your home if not controlled. Fleas cause itching and are known to be the most common cause of pet skin disease. According to Web MD, though tiny, these irritating pests can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. Fleas can also cause tapeworms. Therefore, keeping these little pesky critters at bay is well worth the time and investment.
There are many types of ticks found in the United States. Although some are more confined to specific regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control notes the spread of ticks is increasing. Different species cause different diseases. For example, the brown dog tick, which is found throughout the country, causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, to which humans are susceptible, and the black-legged tick causes Lyme disease, which also affects humans. Our pets can also become sick from these and other tick-borne diseases. Check yourself and your dog thoroughly for these blood-sucking critters anytime you’ve been outside and learn to remove ticks properly to protect yourself and your furry friend.
Mosquitoes also transmit diseases, some of which are deadly. One of the worst for our pets, especially dogs, is heartworm. Your dog may be infected but shows no symptoms at first. Cough and fatigue are the first notable signs. This disease, once discovered, is difficult to combat and some dogs don’t survive. Therefore, prevention is critical to keep your furry friend safe. West Nile Virus is another terrible disease animals and people can contract from mosquitoes. Fur provides some protection from mosquitoes, but ears and noses are vulnerable. Living and spending time near a water source makes you and your furry friend more susceptible to swarms of these tiny pests.
Protection from fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes is critical to keeping your pet safe and healthy. You can purchase preventive products from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. You can find a good resource on such products here:
You may also want to consult the Pet MD website for more information on fleas and ticks, which includes a Flea and Tick Survival Guide: http://www.petmd.com/flea-tick-survival-guide#.
Spring and summer bring more outdoor activities for both people and their pets; those seasons also birth the onslaught of the tiny critters that seek the fur and skin of both human and animal. Therefore, take the needed precautions to protect yourself and your pet to better enjoy these warmer months.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.