We LOVE our furry family members. As pet owners, we know all that can go into keeping your pet healthy and happy: regular exercise, a nutritious diet and lots of love and affection. And of course, we are all too aware that pets can be the target of pests. While most pet parents take some steps to protect their fur babies from biting bugs (like fleas and ticks), it is easy to forget just how much of a threat these nuisances can actually be.
Ticks can be especially dangerous for pets, including animals that spend any amount of time outdoors, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses. As with humans, black-legged deer ticks, which are common in the South-Central Pennsylvania area, can transmit Lyme disease to some pets. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can also cause “tick paralysis” in pets. Tick paralysis occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord, causing muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
Of course, the best way to protect your pets and your home from common pests is to prevent an infestation before it ever happens. Read on to find our best tips to keep your pets protected against pests.
Inspect Your Pet
When returning from walks or time spent outside, inspect your pet thoroughly. Brush your fingers through their fur applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. Be especially attentive if your pet has been in wooded areas or high grasses, where pests flourish.
Perform a Quick and Careful Removal
If you find a tick on your pet, remove it immediately, being careful to remove the head and mouthparts completely. If your pet has fleas, bathe them and seek the consult of a veterinarian.
Keep ‘Em Squeaky Clean
Bathe dogs regularly, using a veterinarian approved shampoo that can kill pests.
And Clean Everything Else Too
Wash your pet’s bedding, crate, toys, food bowls, and sleeping areas frequently. Vacuum your home often and wash linens on a regular basis.
Know the Warning Signs
Be on the lookout for skin irritations on your pet, such as bite marks or red, itchy skin. Excessive scratching is also a good indicator that they could have a skin irritation due to pests. If you notice a change in your animal’s behavior, such as lack of appetite or decrease in energy, take them to your veterinarian ASAP. This could be a sign of Lyme disease or other health issue caused by pests.
Take a Little Off the Top
If your pet has long hair, have them groomed in the spring and summer, when ticks and fleas are most prevalent. Not only will this help to prevent insects from latching onto their long hair and help you to spot any that do, it will also help to keep your pet cool during the warmest time of the year.
Talk to the Experts
Consult with a veterinarian to determine if a preventative medicine is recommended for your pet. Do not use repellent products designed for humans on your pets until consulting a veterinarian. Cats, especially, are extremely sensitive to a variety of chemicals.
Don’t Forget Your Yard
Keep your lawn cut short and cut hedges and shrubbery so they are spaced away from your house. Clean-up any leaves and other debris where pests could hang out.
Help to prevent infestations by putting up a shield in your yard. Our residential tick control specialists can create a strategy to help eradicate existing tick infestations and prevent new colonies from forming in your yard by implementing an effective barrier treatment that eliminates ticks before they can get to you.