Protect Your Pet From Summer Pests - Ottawa Pet Photographer

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

Protect Your Pet From Summer Pests

Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes Can Bug Pets, Too

Summer has officially arrived and all members of the family, including the four-legged variety, will be spending more time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. However, pesky pests such as ticksfleas and mosquitoes can quickly ruin a warm-weather day, especially for pets such as dogs and cats that can’t quite protect themselves the same way people do.

Each of these pests poses different dangers for furry family members, but by employing some key prevention tips, owners can ensure their animals stay pest-free this summer.

Ticks

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

Whether hiking in the woods or simply enjoying a barbecue in the park, people and animals are likely to encounter these blood- thirsty pests during the warmer months. Ticks pose a number of health threats as they can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and "tick paralysis" among others. While some symptoms can surface immediately after a tick bite, others can be difficult to recognize and many owners may not realize their pet is sick until the symptoms become severe and significant treatment is needed.

In addition to speaking with your veterinary expert, here are a few prevention tips in and around the home:

  • Upon returning indoors, inspect dogs and outdoor cats thoroughly.

  • If a tick is found attached, it should be removed with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. Once removed, flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle since ticks are difficult to smush. Then, wash hands and the attachment site thoroughly with soap and water.

  • Keep grass cut low, including around fence lines, sheds, trees, shrubs, swing sets and other difficult to cut locations and remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.

Fleas

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

Dogs and cats most often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or by spending time outdoors. Most pets experience itching from fleas, but some sensitive animals can have more severe reactions such as hair loss, inflammation and secondary skin infections. Flea saliva can also cause anemia, dermatitis, and facilitate the transfer of tapeworms. Because of fleas’ ability to jump great heights, they are easily able to hitchhike into homes while hidden in the fur of family pets. Once inside, fleas quickly multiply and infest bedding, furniture and clothing.

Because fleas can quickly become a big problem, prevention is the best way for pet owners to avoid a major headache. In addition to speaking with your veterinary expert, here are a few prevention tips in and around the home:

  • Bathe pets regularly.

  • Frequently wash human and pet bedding, pet collars and their plush toys.

  • Vacuum carpets, floors and furniture on a regular basis.

Mosquitoes

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and have an extremely fast life cycle allowing for quick population growth. Mosquito larvae hatch within a few days and a full adult develops in 10 to 14 days from hatching.

Just like humans, animals are at high risk for contracting severe illnesses as a result of mosquito bites. In addition to West Nile virus, heartworm is of most concern for pet owners as each year thousands of dogs become disabled or die from problems caused by heartworm disease. Although heartworm is less fatal in cats, it can cause a number of problems such as weight loss, blindness, seizures, difficulty breathing and coughing.

In addition to speaking with your veterinary expert, here are a few prevention tips in and around the home:

  • Prevent mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, baby pools, sandboxes, children’s toys and other objects that can collect water. Mosquitoes need only about ½ inch of water to breed. To keep birdbath and pond water fresh, homeowners should add a fountain or drip system.

  • Keep windows and doors properly screened. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.

  • Clean clogged gutters and periodically check them to ensure water is flowing freely.

  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

  • Ask veterinarians about bug repellents for pets before using them.