While notorious for attacking us humans, mosquitoes actually aren’t that picky—they’re more than willing to bite any mammal they can land on. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question: “Do mosquitoes bite dogs?”, you should know that these pests will prey on our precious pups. When mosquitoes are looking for a blood meal, they’re searching for a warm, active mammal. Dogs can get bitten, and other companion animals are also at risk, including cats, horses and livestock. If a mosquito can find a way to get to their skin, any of these animals can become a mosquito’s next victim.
Unfortunately, just like humans can get malaria from mosquito bites, animals can contract a number of illnesses, some that are quite serious. Heartworms are a big problem when it comes to animal mosquito bites. These parasites affect dogs, cats and ferrets, and these worms can spread their eggs through mosquito bites. Dogs that are infected can suffer from organ damage, lung and heart failure or even death.
Since mosquito bites can be so dangerous for dogs, it’s useful to recognize what they look like on your pet. The general reaction is the same in both humans and dogs. A mosquito bite will lead to an itchy, red bump on your pet. The problem is that fur will usually hide the impacted area if you aren’t actively looking for it. If your dog seems itchier than normal, or if your pet is scratching a certain place a lot, take a closer look. A raised, red lump without any other blotchiness can be an indication that your dog has been bitten by a mosquito. That said, other insects can also bite or sting dogs, so you may need the help of your veterinarian to confirm what you are seeing.
If you notice your dog getting mosquito bites, understand that you and your family are at risk as well. These pests can transmit diseases between you and your neighbors just as easily as they will between your furry family members. If your dog or other pet is suffering from mosquito bites, you will want to act before it becomes a more serious problem.
Unfortunately, finding and managing the source of the mosquitoes on your property can be difficult without the help of a professional mosquito control technician. This is because mosquitoes can breed in as little as a half-inch of water, and mature in as quickly as a week or two. This begins to explain why many homeowners find it almost impossible to eliminate mosquitoes on their own.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to make your fur baby less susceptible to mosquito bites.
How to Protect Your Dog From Mosquitoes and Their Bites
Mosquitoes are primarily an outside problem, which means that your dog is most likely to get bitten while on walks or playing in your yard. So, if you want to prevent your dog or other animals from suffering too much, one of the best ways to do this is to restrict the time your pets are outdoors.
Of course, dogs and many other pets need to at least have some time in your outdoor spaces. So what can you do to prevent mosquito bites on your dog?
Avoid Walking During Peak Mosquito Hours
Dusk is the time when North American mosquitoes tend to be the most active. Walking your dog during twilight hours puts you and your pet at the highest risk of bites. Dawn is another time that can be particularly rife with mosquitoes. Instead of heading out during those peak hours, walk during full daylight. Mosquitoes don’t come out as often when the sun is bright, and songbirds and other mosquito predators are much more active during the day.
Stay Away From Mosquito Breeding Grounds
If your normal walking path leads you near swampy areas, stagnant ponds or dense vegetation, consider changing your route. Any source of standing water and tall grass or weeds is a perfect home for mosquitoes. Ditches, retention ponds or other poorly maintained areas are unlikely to get professional pest control treatment. That means that mosquitoes will be able to breed freely in these areas. More mosquitoes in the area make your dog (and you) more likely to get bitten so avoid these areas to the best of your ability.
Use Pet-Safe Bug Repellents
Not all bug repellents are safe for your dog. Options like DEET, which work for humans, aren’t safe for pets. This is because animals might lick themselves after getting sprayed, and most bug repellents aren’t safe to consume. That means that you need to be very careful when selecting a repellent for your pets.
You can ask your vet and a professional pest control service about your options. Your vet will know whether the repellent is safe to use on your pet, while the pest control service will tell you whether the repellent actually works! Bottom line? Finding a happy balance of safe and effective will likely require some guidance from the pros.
Keep Heartworm Medication Up To Date
It’s impossible to completely prevent mosquito bites. After all, you can only control your own yard, not your neighbors’. To keep your dog protected from the worst dangers that mosquitoes pose, make sure your pet’s heartworm medication is current. Follow your vet’s recommendation for what brand to use. Different areas have different strains of heartworm; your vet knows what will be the best option for your pet.
Keep Your Yard Clean
Just like anywhere else, mosquitoes will flock to your yard if conditions are optimal for breeding. The most important step you can take on your own is being vigilant about eliminating standing water. Puddles, soggy spots or still ponds all encourage mosquitoes. Getting rid of every single place mosquito larvae can grow helps keep them from reaching the adult stage, when our blood can help fuel reproduction. Although some homeowners swear by mosquito repellent plants, unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to indicate that plants alone will keep these bothersome pests away.
Hire A Reputable Pest Control Professional
Eliminating mosquitoes is a daunting task. There are so many places where these creatures can spawn and mosquitoes can travel from one yard to the next in search of a victim. In addition, most products are only effective for a limited period of time, and most target larvae or adults and not both. Hiring a pest control team ensures that you have a multi-faceted approach in place.
Additionally, professional pest control agencies are familiar with the conditions in your area. They know what kind of mosquitoes are local to your region and how to fight them. They will also be able to help with different methods of mosquito control, such as options for mosquito control for your pool, and can offer solutions that are harmless to your dog. A good pest control service will minimize mosquitoes on your property without wasting time or money.
But, unfortunately, mosquitoes aren’t the only type of pest that we have to worry about.
Insect Bites On A Dog: What’s Bothering My Pet?
There are many other kinds of pests that will bite your dog. Determining which is responsible for your pet’s suffering is essential to implementing an effective plan to get rid of them. There are several other common pests that may try to make a meal out of your pet, including fleas, ticks, bees, wasps and ants.
When you’re thinking about typical dog pests, fleas are probably the first that comes to mind. These blood-sucking parasites live in the fur of your pet. Flea bites make your dog itchy and irritated which will probably make your pup shake more often and scratch a lot. If fleas are the culprit, you will likely see these creatures in your pets’ fur when brushing or bathing your pets.
Fleas look like little black dots and can jump an impressive distance. Flea larvae are pale and even smaller than the adults. The bites of the adult fleas will look like tiny red bumps on a dog’s skin. The biggest difference between a mosquito bite and a flea bite is typically the size. Flea bites are much smaller and are typically incredibly itchy when compared to mosquito bites. However, keep in mind that bed bug bites and flea bites can look similar as well.
Ticks are another common parasite that can prey on dogs that spend a lot of time outside. These creatures are most typically found in tall grass. Once a tick gets on your dog, they will feed for hours and stay for the long haul.
A tick bite is unique because the tick is usually still buried in the dog’s skin when an owner discovers it. These bites will look like dark brown or black bumps, potentially swollen with the host’s blood. If you discover a tick hanging on to your pet, remove it carefully and make sure you get the head as well as the body to prevent infection.
Bees And Wasps
While bees and wasps technically sting instead of bite, the impacted area can look similar to a mosquito bite, with a red, raised patch of skin surrounding the sting. The biggest difference will be the actual sting site, since bees leave their stingers in the host’s body. Wasps, on the other hand, leave a clear puncture site. Either way, your dog will feel pain rather than being itchy.
Here in the southern U.S., ants often mean fire ants. Unfortunately, fire ant nests are sometimes hard to spot, which means your dog can easily walk into one before you can steer your furry friend away. We probably don’t have to tell you this, since most adults have been stung at some point, but stings are usually seriously painful, often described as a burning sensation. This is because fire ant stings include a unique toxin that makes the injury site swell up with fluid. The end result looks like pimples, with red swelling and a fluid-filled center.
Preventing Other Bites
Avoiding bites like these can be just as important to your dog’s health and comfort as avoiding mosquito bites. Some bites and stings are seriously painful, while others are itchy and present health risks. All of these can be avoided if you take some precautions.
Keeping your dog from investigating pest homes is a good way to avoid bites. Dogs like to roll in dirt, run through tall grass and otherwise go places full of pests. Being aware of where your dog is playing and restricting access to potential problem areas will help minimize any kind of pest bites or stings.
Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to prevent bites and stings is to get rid of the pests themselves. This is no easy task. in many cases. Hiring a professional pest control service can give you the peace of mind that your pest problem will be handled, whether it’s fleas, fire ants, mosquitoes or a combination of unwanted bugs. By getting rid of these pests, you make the environment safer for your pets—and your family.
ABC Can Protect You and Your Dog From Biting Pests
Our dogs are a part of our families. Seeing your pet itchy or in pain can be difficult. Additionally, if your pet is miserable from bites, you’re probably at risk. Whether you need assistance with mosquitoes, fleas, ants or any other biting or stinging pests, you can count on ABC Home & Commercial Services for results. Our knowledgeable technicians implement effective pest control methods that can protect you, your family and your pets from insect bites and other health dangers.