Man’s best friend may be well acclimated to the outdoors, but they can often be unaware of some of the tiny dangers lurking around our homes. Dangerous insects frequently cause issues worse than just a bite or sting. Many bugs that may live in your yard are host for diseases that can be contracted by you and your pet. If you’re looking to protect a family pet from outdoor pests, read on to learn which insects could put your animal companion at risk and how to avoid them.
Fleas like to attach themselves to the coats of animals. These tiny biting insects multiply at a rapid pace, taking just 21 days to multiply from 1 to 1000. Besides painful, itchy bites, fleas also transmit Cat Scratch Fever. When transmitted to humans, CSF can cause fatigue, headaches, and fevers. Pets can also be allergic to fleas, which makes them suffer severe itchiness that they will scratch until it bleeds. The best way to avoid flea infestations is to use a preventative flea medicine. Varieties include collars, spot treatments, and even pills. Once fleas make their way into your home, however, you may need aid from a pest company to treat the infestation and your pets.
Ticks hang out in wooded areas, and latch onto people and animals when they come too close. A tick will burrow their head beneath the skin and feast on the blood of their hosts. Ticks carry several diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Though ticks are highly active at certain times of year, they can be active year-long depending on climate. Always check your pet for ticks after any time spent in heavy foliage or wooded areas. Remove any ticks with tweezers, as prolonged exposure is a tick paralysis risk. Flea and tick preventatives are available in combination or alone, to ward off tick bites for your furry companions.
These insects are another type of blood feeder. Warm-blooded animals are their main source of food, and these hosts can be victim to Chagas disease when coming in contact with a kissing bug’s fecal matter. A cure does not currently exist for Chagas disease. Once infected, a pet may exhibit lethargy, loss of appetite, neurological issues, and more. This disease can lead to heart problems and death. It is important to make sure your pet does not eat these bugs.
We are all familiar with the itchy, irritating bite of a mosquito. Just like people, pets are often the victim of these blood-drinking pests. The biggest problem for pets is that mosquitoes can carry heart-worm larvae. Once infected, these parasites travel to the heart and lung tissues. Growing up to 12 inches long, their bodies can cause severe damage and blockage to a pet’s organs, resulting in death. Heart-worm is preventable with a routine medication that can be prescribed by a veterinarian.
Botflies are large and bee-like, though they do not sting or bite. Their biggest threat to animals is the fact that they lay eggs on prey rodents and pets alike. Pets can come in contact with these eggs through rooting out small animals such as rabbits, or encountering botfly eggs in the outdoors. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will enter a warm host through a wound or the mouth or nose. Once inside the body of an animal, botfly larvae will burrow under the skin. These infestations are marked by lumps or cysts formed by the larvae underneath the surface. To help your animals avoid bot flies, keep them away from rabbit or rodent nests. Groom pets regularly to check for skin abnormalities. A veterinarian will have to treat your pet by removing the larvae, ensuring no further harm comes to the animal.
Some species of spiders, such as the black widow or brown recluse, are equally as dangerous to pets as they are people. Their poisonous bite can cause irritation, rash, and tissue damage. Spider bites can be hard to see on a furry animal. The best way to avoid pet contact with spiders is to keep them out of areas where spiders set up their homes, such as dark spaces under porches or near wood piles. Regularly treating the outside of your home for insects can help minimize the population and reduce chances of encountering them.
If you have an anthill in your yard, your pet could be at risk for ant bites. These tiny insects will swarm when their hill is disturbed, so it is best to treat ant colonies as soon as they are noticed to prevent bites and encroachment into your home. Fire ants are extra dangerous, as their sting contains a venom that causes a burning pain and can leave scars. Their colonies can contain over 500,000 insects, so multiple stings are almost always guaranteed.
Bees and Wasps
Pets can be allergic to stings just as people can. While any stings are painful, a pet with an allergy can have seizures, swelling, and problems breathing. Always consult a vet if you think your pet has been stung. To avoid possible encounters with stinging insects, be sure to remove any nests you find around your home. A disturbed wasp nest by an unsuspecting pet can cause them to be attacked by a swarm of insects, resulting in multiple stings.
Protect Your Best Friend From Dangerous Insects
While it is impossible to prevent contact with all dangerous insects, you can reduce the risk by taking necessary precautions. Treat your pet on schedule with veterinarian-recommended flea, tick, and heart-worm medication. Groom and inspect their fur on a regular basis for any signs of bites or infestations. Ensure the presence of troublesome pests around your home is warded off before it becomes a huge problem. Professional pest control experts like Reynolds Pest Management can seasonally treat your home for insect activity as well as manage any pest issues as they arise. With a little care, your beloved pet can safely enjoy the outdoors with the rest of the family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!