Look What the Cat Dragged In: Protecting Your Pets From PestsNPMA Staff
Saturday, May 7, 2011
As the weather warms, pet owners nationwide are bracing
themselves for flea and tick season. If you have ever dealt
with a flea infestation, you know how imsportant it is to protect
your pets from these pesky critters. If you haven't faced fleas and ticks, consider this a helpful
"Pet owners should take special care to protect their pets from
ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes this season," says Missy
Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the
National Pest Management Association (NPMA). "These pests are
not just an annoyance, but could pose serious health threats
to your pet and your family."
Indeed, these small bugs are no small concern. Fleas, for
example, are known for biting, leaving behind itchy, red bumps
that cause Fido to scratch excessively. Flea saliva can also
cause conditions such as anemia and flea allergy dermatitis
and can transfer tapeworms.
"Fleas are known for their quick breeding capabilities, and a
tiny few on your pet can quickly turn into hundreds in your
home if left unchecked," says Henriksen.
Ticks can be equally as
hazardous to family pets. Female ticks can attach near a pet's
spinal cord, causing "tick paralysis." The condition causes muscle
weakness, loss of coordination and, in some cases, death from
respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed. And as
dogs are more likely than humans to pick up ticks while outdoors,
they are more likely to contract Lyme disease.
also pose a threat to dogs as several species can be vectors of
heartworm parasites, which are deposited as the mosquito feeds
on the animal. Each year, thousands of dogs become disabled or
die from problems caused by heartworm disease.
The NPMA recommends these tips to help reduce your pet's
exposure to fleas and ticks:
- Check pets frequently for ticks, fleas and flea dirt. Be aware
of excessive scratching, licking and nibbling behavior in
- Avoid walking the dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater
chance of fleas hitching a ride.
- Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing brushy vegetation along
the edge of the woods or a trail. Check pets after a walk near
or in such areas.
- Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals.
- Frequently wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.
- Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture
frequently. Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
- If you suspect a pest problem, contact a licensed pest
For more information, you can visit www.pestworld.org.
NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was
established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's
commitment to the protection of public health, food and