Keep Pets Healthy in the "Dog Days" of SummerNPMA Staff
Friday, August 13, 2010
By NPMA Staff
Families enjoy spending time in the great outdoors during the
summer months, and now, more than ever, pets are considered
integral family members. Just as people must be aware of how
insects and rodents can affect their health, they must also
consider their pet's health, too. The National Pest Management
Association (NPMA) cautions pet owners that pet parasites are more
prevalent in warmer months and can have appreciable health
consequences for beloved pets.
Fleas, for example, are not simply a nuisance. Rather, their
saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and transfer tapeworms. Ticks
can also be extremely hazardous to pet health. In fact, female
ticks can attach near a pet's spinal cord, causing "tick
paralysis." This condition causes muscle weakness, loss of
coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as
chest muscles become paralyzed. Mosquitoes are another pet parasite
that can transmit viruses, protozoa and heartworm.
"Humans love their pets but often forget that they must be
protected from insects and rodents," says Jim Fredericks, technical
services director for NPMA. "The same vigilance we recommend to
humans for the protection of their own health must be extended to
their animals, as pests can pose serious health risks to man's best
friend and so many other cherished pets."
To avoid pet pests, NPMA advises pet owners to:
• Check pets frequently for fleas, flea dirt and
ticks, especially after being outdoors. Be aware of any excessive
scratching, licking or grooming behavior.
• Avoid walking pets in tall grass where fleas
and ticks gather, and at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most
• Treat the animal's environment: Wash pet
bedding, plush toys; and vacuum frequently.
• Speak with a veterinarian about
prevention/treatment options including heartworm protection.
• If confronted with a pest infestation in the
home, contact a licensed pest professional to treat the