While walking through Montana woodlands last weekend with my friend and her dog, I pondered the tiny pests which can affect we humans and our animals. Just thinking of the possibility of ticks made my neck itch that day! Although it’s fun to hike and saunter the woodlands with our pets during summer, there are several tiny, nasty pests which can affect the enjoyment of such activities.
During this season of the year, many of our beloved animals spend more time outside. Running through grass, exploring forests, and encountering other pets while outdoors can bring your pet into contact with fleas and ticks. These tiny creatures can cause plain irritation as well as great harm to dogs and cats. According to Web MD, fleas, though tiny, can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. Fleas cause itching and are known to be the most common cause of pet skin disease. Ticks, when not removed properly, can bring Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to both animals and people.
Various preventive programs curb fleas and tick exposure, and therefore, a pet parent's worry. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent these tiny pests from infecting and affecting your dog or cat. You can purchase preventive measures from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store. 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#. Learn more about fleas and ticks and their impact on pets at http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-flea-and-tick-overview.
Ticks and fleas aren’t the only miniscule pests which pet parents should be concerned about. Mosquitoes also pester animals as well as people. Fur provides some protection, 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 mosquitoes; therefore, use protection from these blood-suckers. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus as well as heartworm, a major disease affecting dogs; cats can get the disease as well. View heartworm incident maps at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps. Therefore, protect your pet from mosquitoes. Dogs and cats can be allergic to tiny problematic creatures like ticks and mosquitoes – another a good reason to protect them from these pesky pests!
Other small pests which can affect the enjoyment of summer for people and their pets include biting flies and gnats. These little creatures may also carry disease. Therefore, protect yourself and your pets from them as well.
Being outdoors during summer is fun for us and our pets, particularly our dogs. But remember, there are tiny creatures out there just waiting for a warm body, ours and our animals, on which to inhabit. Therefore, take the needed precautions and purchase those preventative remedies to keep your beloved pet from being infected by fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other tiny, pesky pests. Talk with your veterinarian about how to keep your furry friend safe and healthy this summer.
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.