Four bugs to be aware of this summer with your pets

by | Dog Care |

Summer is great for a lot of things, but beware of bugs. There are a number of bugs that can be irritating and even harmful for our furry friends. Here’s what to look out for:

1. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can be annoying for our animals, and cause local irritation, but the major concern is that they can transmit heartworm.

Speak to your veterinarian about preventative heartworm medication for your dog during mosquito season. If the animal contracts the disease, treatment is costly, lengthy, and has health risks involved.

2. Fleas

Adult fleas spend only around five percent of their life on an animal; the other 95 percent spent is spent elsewhere, digesting food and laying eggs. Fleas jump on an animal to get a blood meal, which they need to reproduce. 

For more details on what fleas are and how they can be attracted to your pet, see Fleas and how to beat them.

Because flea bites are irritating, the animal will bite and scratch to relieve the itching, which can cause secondary skin trauma and lead to a skin infection. In young or compromised animals with a heavy flea burden, the animal can actually suffer from anemia.

In addition to the yuck factor of having fleas in your home, and the toll it takes on your animal, a big concern with fleas is that they can transfer tapeworm.

Always speak to your veterinarian before attempting to treat a flea infestation to ensure you use products that are safe for your animal and their environment. Read more on how to eliminate fleas. 

3. Ticks

Ticks are attracted to three things: body motion, body heat, and carbon dioxide – furry friends are the perfect target as they run around outside, sniffing around.

Ticks are ground-dwellers, so they move from low shrubbery, or the ground to latch onto your furry friends. Ticks can be found on the body parts of your animal that sit closest to the ground: neck, head, around the ears, the front part of their chest, and the underside of the chest.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, and they can move between animals, which is why it’s important to check your furry family members when they come inside from playing. 

To learn more about what ticks are and where they can be found, check out Tick Prevention for Your Dog.  

Speak to your veterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area and the safest and most effective tick prevention products for your animal. 

4. Flies

Biting flies like black flies, horse flies and deer flies are attracted to our furry friends for a blood meal. Companion animals who spend a lot of time outdoors and who live near water or farms may be especially susceptible. 

Fly bites may be seen most around the ears, nose and on the belly, where hair is sparse. These bites can be painful and may result in an allergic reaction in some furry friends. While fly bites may heal on their own without issue, bites have the potential to become itchy and irritated. This can lead to secondary skin infections where the skin is sore, infected and crusted with blood, in turn attracting more flies. Talk to your vet about pet-friendly fly-repellant available for companion animals.