Being a pet owner is more than just showering your pet with cuddles and coming up with cute pet names for it – it’s also the responsibility of keeping it safe, even from health risks posed by pests. Ticks, fleas, and other bugs can harm your animals and lead to your house’s infestation.
Numerous creepy insects can pose a serious threat to you, your furry friends, and your household. Here, you will find some information about the most common types of pests you need to watch out for and helpful tips on how to prevent them.
Fleas are one of the most common pests among pets, especially cats and dogs. Although they don’t pose a serious life threat, they can be very annoying. Fleas spread from one host to another by jumping, so your pet can come into contact with them by being in a short distance with an infected animal or by encountering them in the environment.
As experts from 369bugs.com say, those jumping insects just love cool to warm temperatures and humid environments, so they can easily take refuge in your home. One adult flea can lay as many as 20 eggs per day, and the eggs typically hatch within 2 to 14 days. Eggs can roll onto carpets, couches, pet beddings, and other surfaces, resulting in the population’s fast growth. Getting rid of them may not be an easy task, and it can result in you having to hire a professional.
However, there are some things you can do to avoid them or get rid of them before they have a chance to spread. The best way is to inspect your pets after spending time outside and brush them regularly with a comb designed especially for catching fleas. If you see one hopping around, contact your veterinarian and buy special shampoo or medication.
Ticks can be found in the woods, gardens, and grassy areas, and they will latch to your pet instantly as you walk by. They feed on blood, carry bacteria from one animal to another, and once attached, they are very hard to remove. Leaving ticks alone is also not possible, as they will feed until they are full, and that time ranges from 3 days to even three years. Until then, ticks will constantly pump their saliva to your pet’s organism, and the spit is full of toxins and bacteria, which can cause life-threatening diseases. Some species can even consume so much blood they cause anemia.
The most common tick-related disease is Lyme disease. Once ill, your pet becomes feverish and experiences swelling and joint pains. However, the symptoms may not show themselves for days, weeks, or months. Fortunately, some tests can determine if the pet was infected, though it can take up to nine weeks for them to show positive results.
The paralysis is caused by toxins transmitted within the saliva, and all symptoms start to show around a week after the bite, so you have to be on high alert. You can see the beginning of the paralysis through numbness in the legs, muscle pain, and breathing problems. If untreated for a long time, more than 10 percent of the cases result in death.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
With Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever infection, your pet can become depressed and suffer from ongoing seizures. You can also observe a loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, and other severe symptoms. If you don’t start the treatment fast, it can cause kidney failure and hemorrhages.
You can prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market.
If you thought that mosquitos are only interested in your blood, you couldn’t be more wrong. They can be a nuisance for dogs and cats too. These insects can bite your pets and cause skin irritation and itching.
Moreover, mosquitos are known heartworm carriers. They spread the worms from one animal to another, and they are especially harmful to dogs (as cats are often asymptomatic hosts). If not treated, it can be a fatal disease for dogs. Unfortunately, there is no approved treatment for cats, which means working with your veterinarian to take preventative steps is crucial.
In the United States, two spider species can bite and poison your dog. The black widow’s and the brown recluse’s bites can seriously harm your animals resulting in fever, weakness, and rash. If the bite is not appropriately treated, it can lead to irreversible neuromuscular damage and amputation. It is crucial to be sure that your pet does not lick the bite’s site, as this typically only worsens the situation.
You have to be especially careful with cats and small dog breeds like dachshunds or chihuahuas.
Most dogs are allergic to bees and wasps. The stings of those bugs can result in severe swelling, seizures, and respiratory distress. The first thing you have to do after your pet was stung is to identify the insect. Bees are the only ones that leave their stingers in the victim. Even detached, they can still release the venom, so be sure to take it out immediately. Then, you can soothe the bite with baking soda and water, find some way to prevent your pet from licking and scratching, and go to the vet for some antihistamines.
Pests can reach your pet in many ways, and it’s not always possible to avoid it. There are many vaccines available that help prevent basic diseases your animal can catch. Remember that most of them have to be repeated every few years, depending on your pet’s size and the place you live in.
Apart from medications, you can defend yourself from pest infestation by keeping your home, yard, and animals clean. Be sure to declutter your home and garden, and wash your pet after playing outside for a long period of time, especially when it’s wet, and never forget about ears and teeth!
*Photo by Richard Brutyo