Protect Your Pets from the #1 Pest

Now that summer is in full swing, our worst outdoor annoyance is back with a vengeance – mosquitoes! They swarm evening walks, steal blood, and leave behind an itchy reminder of their deed.  Most of us know mosquitoes are a nuisance, but these nasty little bugs carry disease.  Protecting your pet from this threat is key to keeping your canines – and cats safe and bite-free all summer long.

When you’re playing outside, make sure your human protects you from pests! – Davi

Don’t use human insect repellent on pets

Human bug spray might be useful to humans, but they’re toxic for pets.  Most insect repellents contain DEET as its main ingredient, which can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to pets.  And because dogs like to lick their owners, make sure you’re not wearing it around them or they could suffer from the serious side effects.

Do remove standing water around the house

Just like dogs, mosquitoes need water to live.  The first step in preventing pesky mosquitoes from multiplying is to restrict their access to water.  It only takes an inch of water to breed hundreds of mosquitoes.  Since they lay their eggs in standing water, it’s especially important to empty water buckets and keep fresh water in your pet’s dish.

Don’t walk during peak mosquito times

Mosquitoes are the bane of anyone who steps outside during the hours around dusk and dawn.  I’ve surely spent a night or two swatting at these buzzing pests with my tail only to end up with a welt on my forehead.  Very rarely do the insects feed during daylight hours unless the sky is cloudy, so if you want to reduce your chances of getting bit, do outdoor activities when mosquitoes are less active.

Do apply bug sprays designed for dogs

When it comes to protection from mosquitoes, it is safest, healthiest, and smartest to select products that are made for pets.  What’s more, most of these sprays are formulated to prevent not only mosquitoes but ticks, fleas, and other biting bugs.  You can also lessen the chance of mosquito bites by using a topical preventative that contains permethrin.  Remember, never use these products on cats, as permethrin is highly toxic to felines.

Don’t ignore natural remedies

If you’re not comfortable putting chemicals on your pet, there are plenty of natural remedies that work just as well.  Products made from lemongrass, citronella, geranium, and peppermint will give your pet a fighting chance against biting insects without irritating their skin.  You can also dilute and mix together these oils to make your own effective repellents.

If given the choice between a hairy dog and a juicy, relatively naked human, it’s likely that most mosquitos would choose the human to bite. But mosquitos do bite dogs, and dogs with very short hair, like me, can get chewed on pretty excessively.

Mosquitoes should not be considered as a summertime pest, but as a year-round health hazard, which means every effort should be made to avoid exposure. It takes just one bite from a mosquito infected with heartworm larvae to jeopardize your pet’s health. Heartworm disease is serious, and it can go unnoticed for a very long time. That’s why the absolute best treatment option is prevention.