Protecting Your Pets from Mosquitoes and Other Pests
Even though winter is still holding on to some areas of the country, spring is thankfully just around the corner. However, warmer temperatures and sunny weather bring a handful of problems of their own. In addition to returning allergens, spring leads to the buzzing and biting of a number of outdoor pests which can lead to a number of pet health problems. Humans can prepare for trips outside with a cloud of insect repellent but it can be easy to forget that our pets often suffer the stings of bugs and pests without us ever knowing.
From mosquitoes to fleas, taking steps to protect your pets from pests is important throughout spring and summer. Many pet owners relax their protection during winter, when many bugs are dormant. Here are a few steps to take to help your furry friends avoid being hassled by pests as they enjoy the warmer weather.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Hopefully, you never stopped giving your pets their monthly flea and tick prevention, but spring is definitely the time to start again if you took the winter off. Fleas are an incredible nuisance to your pet and to your home, and they can spread disease between pets if they have the chance. While normal flea medicine will kill mosquitoes after they bite your pet, most preventative measures will not kill mosquitoes before they can bite. Some topical formulas may be effective against mosquitoes, but ask your vet before changing your medicine.
Remove Standing Water Once a Week
There are a variety of mosquitoes found throughout the United States, and they are unfortunately very difficult to control. While some mosquitoes, like the gallinipper, are born in places that see flood water, most are born in backyards. There’s not much homeowners can do to control the large gallinipper mosquitoes, but protecting your pets and family from normal mosquitoes can be helped greatly by removing standing water throughout the yard. Bird baths, gutter downspouts, kiddie pools and old tires are favorites for mosquito eggs. Mosquito eggs only need about 1/8th of a cup of water for a week to hatch, so be sure to check each week.
Any outdoor spring cleaning should include clearing your gutters from the leaves and debris of a long winter. Gutters can spawn a number of annoying household pests, like roaches, ants, mosquitoes and more. Pest control companies will typically offer gutter cleaning, which can save you a few hours standing on a ladder over the weekend.
Give Your Pet a Safe Haven
Many dogs and cats spend their days outside, and it can be difficult for them to find a place to relax that is safe from pests. Mosquitoes are especially skilled at following the chemical trails that people and pets leave in the air. Giving your pet a place that offers shade and protection bugs on the ground is a great step, but flying pests will eventually find your pet. If your pooch has a favorite spot on the porch, try putting a box fan near where they spend time. This will help cool them as temperatures begin to rise, and the strong breeze will help push mosquitoes away.
Garden shrubs and planters are common homes for bugs like mosquitoes, which dislike direct sunlight. During warm days, pets will often seek shelter beneath shrubs that may be full of mosquitoes and other biting insects. Pest control chemicals can help repel mosquitoes, but will often drive off beneficial insects as well. Instead, you can prune and thin your shrubs to allow more sunlight to penetrate throughout the plant. You pet can still enjoy some shade, but won’t have to worry about nasty neighbors. Moreover, preventive measures such as flea collars and flea sprays are effective around grassy and shrubby areas.