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Well Look What The Dog Brought In - Infestations, Itching, And Disease
Summer is the primetime for pet pests such as fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes. Although animals tend to view pests as merely annoyances, they can pose substantial health risks to both the pets and their owners, warns the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
"These pests are known to transmit some potentially serious diseases like West Nile Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease to animals and their human family," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Dogs can also contract heartworm disease through mosquito bites- an expensive illness to treat if it's not detected early."
Another major concern is property infestation. Pet pests can breed quickly and are difficult to locate once inside the home. "Fleas and ticks typically remain on the warm-blooded host. Yet, flea eggs roll off the host and hatch in carpets, furniture and bedding," says Henriksen. "The small size and mobility of these pests make them hard to eradicate without the help of a pest professional once inside the home."
NPMA offers the following tips for pet owners during the summer months:
- Check your pet frequently for fleas, flea dirt and ticks, especially after the animal has been outside. Keep an eye out for excessive scratching, licking and nibbling grooming behavior in your pet.
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass where there is a greater chance of fleas and ticks hitching a ride.
- Eliminate sources of standing water in the yard, as these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Talk with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to pets and inquire about heartworm protection.
- Treat the animal's environment. Wash pet bedding and plush toys and vacuum carpets frequently.
- Contact a pest professional to prevent potential or current infestations.