You protect your home from pests, but what about your pet? Things only get worse during the dog days of summer.
Pests that love pets include fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and even bed bugs. These pests aren’t just annoying, they could be extremely dangerous. According to CDC data, “illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have tripled in the U.S.”—mostly due to warming temperatures. Many pests, especially biting insects, thrive in the heat. The diseases they may carry—Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya—are also sensitive to temperature changes.
Some key findings of the CDC report include:
- A total of 642,602 cases of disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, tick, or flea were reported in the U.S. and its territories from 2004 through 2016.
- The number of reported tickborne diseases more than doubled in 13 years and accounted for more than 60 percent of all reported mosquito-borne, tickborne, and fleaborne disease cases.
With so many pests and diseases to keep away, it helps to know some ways to protect your family and pets and keep them healthy this summer.
Don’t ditch the outdoors, just ditch the pests! Here’s how:
Protect your pet from…
Scratch, scratch! Oh no, your dog won’t stop scratching. Fleas—they’re not just annoying, they could also be dangerous. Fleas can cause all sorts of health problems, from inflammation to infections. Fleas are not only quick to make a home on your furry friend, they’re also hard to evict. Once in your home, fleas multiply quickly, producing a bigger problem than just an unhappy pet.
To minimize the chance of your pet catching the itch, try out some of these effective best practices:
- Pets are likely to get fleas from other pets. When outdoors, make sure your pet’s buddies are flea-free.
- When you get home from your trip, and as a general best practice, bathe your pet often, along with their bedding and any toys.
- While you’re in cleaning mode, vacuum up your carpets to ensure your floors are as free and clear as your pet’s fur.
- Use a spray bottle to spritz some lemon juice onto your furry friend before brushing their fur. You’ll enjoy the scent, but your flea friends won’t.
- Learn how to prevent and eliminate flea infestations from your home.
If your best friend already has fleas, try out some of these home remedies.
In the dog days of summer, ticks are alive and well. Ticks are common in the region due to our moist, humid climate. And dogs are particularly susceptible to tick bites and tickborne illnesses.
Ticks can cause many problems for your pet, including serious diseases, from Lyme disease to anemia and even paralysis. Since there are no available vaccines for most tickborne illnesses and none that keeps pets from bringing ticks into your home, tick prevention is crucial.
- Be on guard against ticks if you are hiking in the woods or playing and barbecuing in taller grasses. Ticks like well-worn paths and wait (known as “questing”) on the tips of tall grasses and shrubs to attach themselves to a host.
- When coming home from any outdoor event with your pet, inspect them thoroughly for any signs of ticks.
- Since ticks are hard to detect on pets, pay attention to any changes in your pet’s behavior or appetite.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. Just like us, our pets need care to stay healthy.
- Ask your vet about the best tick prevention products and local tickborne diseases to prevent ticks and other pests.
- Control ticks around your yard.
Common outdoor places where ticks like to hang out:
In tall grasses — Keep the grass of your lawn cut short, pay special attention to around the fence line and under and around any trees, shrubs or other landscape accents. There are also lawn tick treatments to consider.
Under benches and park picnic benches — Be wary of tick exposure when at parks, eating at wooden picnic tables and sitting on wooden benches. Especially in our region’s climate and landscape, if your pet loves to sit by your side or beg for food under the table, encountering ticks could be a real possibility.
Near their “host” — In this case, the “host” would be your pet. Ticks will feed on dogs and humans alike. Pets increase the chances of humans getting ticks since they can easily hitch a ride into your home.
Wooded & grassy areas — Ticks are often reported by pet owners after a day in the woods. Camping with the family is an all-American summer traditional for many, but you don’t want to bring any of the woods back into your suburban nest. On your way for a beautiful day in a wooded or grassy area? Don’t forget the insect repellent!
It can be quite a shock to find a tick on you or your family pet. But, don’t panic. You will need to remove the tick as soon as possible to prevent any side effects from lingering or worsening.
Use these CDC instructions for removing a tick:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
- Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.
Going to be near water this summer? Mosquitoes consider standing water to be their ideal breeding ground. Mosquitoes are extremely annoying and even dangerous to humans, and the same is true for man’s best friend. Through their bites, mosquitoes can transfer diseases to your pet, from West Nile to heartworm disease.
- Ask your veterinarian about the best mosquito repellent options for your pet. It is very important that you don’t use human mosquito repellent on your animal. It can cause severe irritation and sickness.
- Take into consideration the time of day that mosquitoes love to be active: dawn and dusk. Don’t walk your pet or let your pet out during these hours to avoid unwanted insect bites.
- Learn how to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
For additional pet pest protection, listen to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). They advise pet owners to do the following:
- Check pets frequently for fleas, flea dirt and ticks, especially after being outdoors. Be aware of any excessive scratching, licking or grooming behavior.
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where fleas and ticks gather, and at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Treat the animal’s environment: Wash pet bedding, plush toys; and vacuum frequently.
- Speak with a veterinarian about prevention/treatment options including heartworm protection.
- If confronted with a pest infestation inb the home, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the problem.
Learn additional ways to protect your family and pets from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
For pest infestations in your home, count on ABC Home & Commercial Services. We have your summer pest solutions.