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.