Pets are, unfortunately, an easy target for pests. If we slept on the floor, regularly rolled in the grass, and had the same bath schedule as Fido, we’d probably be an easy mark, too! That means it’s up to us to help our furry family members avoid bug bites, unwelcome parasites, and insect intruders.
Why Won’t Bugs Leave Our Pets Along?
Pests love our pets for some of the same reasons we do: they’re warm and soft with lots to offer. Sadly, pests aren’t after any of the love and affection we receive from our furry friends and instead seek to bother, bite, and infest the animals we call family. Bugs such as ticks, fleas, wasps, flies, beetles, bed bugs, cockroaches, worms, and gnats are all likely to show up and bring discomfort—or even dangerous disease and illness—to our pets.
Our pets are just as likely (and sometimes more than we are) to pick up fleas, ticks, and a few extra bites or stings outside because of their extra fur, oils, scents, and other factors that attract pests. They’re also very likely to fall victim to pest activity long before we notice and begin treatment because it’s hard for us to spot bugs, bites, and bee stings under a thick coat of fur.
How to Keep Bugs Away From Your Pets
Try these tips to save your pets from lots of scratching and irritation, not to mention help them live a healthier life.
KEEP THE PLACE CLEAN
With pet ownership comes a few household changes, including a bowl of standing water, loose pet food crumbs around, and tracked dirt and particles on the floor—all things that attract annoying pests.
Take extra care to regularly clean the spaces where your pet eats, sleeps, uses the bathroom, and plays with toys. Use airtight containers to store pet food and wash pet clothing, leashes, linens, dishes, and toys often.
KEEP YOUR PET CLEAN, TOO
Furry pets need their fur inspected and brushed after going outside to sort out any potential bugs and catch any bites or stings as soon as possible. If this is a tall order for you and your long-haired pet, trimming their fur or shaving them completely (if the breed allows) can reduce the temptation for bugs to hop aboard and make your pet miserable.
DETER PESTS WITH REPELLENTS
Pests don’t want to stick around when they detect certain scents and solutions. Instead of applying bug spray intended for humans—which can be toxic or even fatal to animals—pick up a solution intended for animals.
Pest repelling sprays and applications are available that are made specifically for pets. Always consult with your veterinarian to get specific recommendations for your individual pet.
You may notice some familiar ingredients in bug repellents for pets, such as apple cider vinegar, lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon, mint, and neem oil. Just because you see these and may have them at home, steer clear of a DIY approach in making your own solution. These ingredients must be used in careful dilution, and not all of them are safe for all pets. Check with your vet and purchase pre-mixed products guaranteed safe for use on pets.
LOOK TO PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
The next time Rover goes in for a check-up, ask if adding any heartworm, flea, and tick medicine to your pet’s routine is in order. All it takes is one bite from a carrier insect for your pet to fall ill with West Nile virus, Zika virus, Lyme disease, or end up with a case of heartworms.
Medications are typically administered orally or topically at specific intervals, often monthly. A veterinarian can provide the correct guidance and dosage for these medications, so consult with your pet’s doctor to ensure they’re getting the protection they need.
BLOCK PESTS’ ACCESS
Take measures to prevent pests from coming inside and preying on your pet by blocking the pest’s access. If your indoor pets are incessantly scratching, it’s likely they’ve been bitten by something that’s invading your space.
Check the walls, doors, and windows of your home for any loose weather stripping or gaps and replace worn-out or missing materials. Caulk small cracks that provide entry points for pests, and make sure to keep an eye out for holes in window screens that need repair.
INTEGRATE PEST CONTROL
Some people think that pest control isn’t possible if you have pets. But pet-friendly treatments are both possible and effective when planned with the help of a pest control professional.
For example, diatomaceous earth is a great part of a comprehensive pest control plan. This organic powder is composed of ground-up fossilized organisms made of silica and kills insects without introducing any harmful products into your pet’s path. Pest professionals also utilize traps that won’t bother Fido or Fluffy and can make specific recommendations for your home and pets.
Help your pets be safer, healthier, and happier after implementing these tips to prevent pests from making them miserable. The health and safety of all members of your family is important to us, whether they walk on two or four legs. Our team is trained to identify pest problems and carry out pet-friendly control methods that will banish persistent pests while ensuring it’s done properly and effectively. Contact us to learn more!