Biting insects aren’t just gross, they can be dangerous! Pets of all shapes and sizes are at risk to the dangers of biting insects. Here, the experts at Springtime Supplements help to outline some of the dangers that biting insects pose to our beloved pets, as well as give some tips to keep your furry friend bug-free this summer.
Common Types of Biting Insects
As we enter the dog days of summer, we’re more active than ever. Whether your pet loves catching some rays on your back deck, stretching their legs on their evening walk, grazing in their pasture or accompanying you on a hiking trail, they run the risk of encountering biting insects. It’s important to understand which bugs and bites to keep an eye on as you’re out and about.
Fleas are a very common biting insect that your pet may run into this summer. In fact, your backyard may be the most dangerous place when it comes to fleas, as most dogs get fleas from the grass in their backyard. Fleas tend to chew on your dog around their neck, groin, perineum (area around the anus) and tail base. Because the saliva of a flea is very allergenic, your dog will itch all over, but may chew or itch those specific areas more. Fleas reproduce rapidly, so one small bite can quickly lead to an infestation. It’s important to keep an eye out for fleas because flea bites can cause anemia, which can be fatal in dogs if left untreated.
Do a thorough once-over on your dog after they spend time laying in the grass, playing with new dogs, or lounging in a new environment. If they have long hair, comb through the hair. Look for small black dots crawling over their skin. Flea bites look like little red bumps and can exhibit swelling, redness, hair loss, crusting, and oozing.
As the weather warms up, it’s especially important to be on the lookout for ticks- both for you and your pets. Ticks are especially dangerous due to their sneaky nature and the high number of diseases they can carry, which can affect all animals. Ticks will crawl around their host’s body until they find a suitable picnic spot- usually someplace warm and concealed. A tick’s feeding can last for several days, and they are able to suck five to ten times their bodyweight in blood. If their secret snacking spot wasn’t enough to ensure they can eat safely, the tick’s saliva contains a neurotoxin with anesthetic properties, so their prey cannot feel the bite or the feeding- meaning that a tick can go for days without detection.
Ticks’ infected saliva poses a big risk for your pets. They can carry and transmit Lyme’s disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Rickettsiosis and more. In addition, if a tick is disturbed, it will regurgitate its stomach contents back into the host’s bloodstream, potentially infecting the host with toxins, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and spirochetes.
Make sure that you are regularly checking both yourself and your pets for ticks, especially after spending time outside. Even if you don’t go outside often or if your pets’ time outside is limited, it’s important you check for ticks, as they can last 584 days without food, have been known to survive the washer and dryer and ‘stalk’ their prey- one could have been waiting inside your house to climb aboard and feast.
Make sure that you’re double checking anything that feels different about your pets’ coat, as ticks often look and feel like a scab. If you do find a tick on yourself or your pet, ensure that you are removing it properly. Dispose of the tick and be sure to sanitize the area of the bite.
Mosquitos are just as pesky to your furry friends as they are to us during the summer. While the immediate itching of a mosquito bite is as short-lived and annoying for your pet as it is for you, your dog and horse are at risk for long-term damage caused by the diseases mosquitoes can carry.
Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, but the biggest risks for dogs are Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and heartworm. Heartworms are exclusively spread by mosquitoes, so it is imperative that you protect your pet from mosquito bites. Be sure to stay up-to-date with your dog’s heartworm prevention.
Horses are also at risk of diseases spread by mosquitoes. Diseases like West Nile Virus, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis can be fatal if untreated. Talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your horses are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
The best way to protect against mosquito bites is prevention. Make sure that there are no areas of standing water near where your pet will spend time outside. These can include uncleaned water bowls or troughs, bird baths, ornamental ponds without filtration, untreated swimming pools, stagnant water or mud in a field, water pooling in a tarp cover, kiddie pools, seepage from a septic tank or water pooling in a driveway pothole. All of these locations make for perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Protecting Your Dog From Pests
Creepy crawlies can pose serious health risks for your pet, so it’s important that you understand how to protect them from these pests. However, many bug repellants on the market today are toxic and harmful to pets. DEET, a common ingredient in most bug repellants made for humans, is extremely toxic to dogs. Because of this, avoid using bug sprays that are manufactured for humans on your dog. In addition, citronella plants, a well-known natural mosquito repellant, and their derived products can be toxic to dogs. Make sure that these plants and products are out of your dog’s reach, and limit their exposure.
A safe, all-natural alternative to traditional bug repellant is garlic. Springtime’s line of garlic products features chewables and capsules that are safe for dogs, horses, miniature donkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits, alpacas, llamas, deer, cats and other farm animals. Garlic allows you to offer your pet complete protection from pests without the risks of harsh chemicals.
Let Springtime Supplements Help You Battle the Bugs This Summer
The task of protecting your pet from biting bugs can be overwhelming. But, you don’t have to do it alone. At Springtime Supplements, we believe that people who love animals gotta stick together. Contact our team of animal lovers today by calling 1-800-521-3212 to help determine which of our natural supplements will work best in protecting your pet from pests this summer.