Pet Pests More Than a Nuisance This Season

FAIRFAX, Va. (June 13, 2011)Plenty of pests pose health risks to humans, but there are also those that can be dangerous for other beloved family members pets. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises that summer is prime season for ticks and fleas, which pose serious health risks to pets.

Ticks are vectors of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be transmitted to humans, but they can also cause tick paralysis in dogs. This can cause muscle weakness, loss of coordination and even death if the chest muscles become paralyzed, causing respiratory failure.

Though often thought of as an itchy annoyance, fleas also pose a serious health threat to pets if left unchecked. Beyond the fact that they breed with lightning speed, fleas saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms.

While pet owners enjoy playing in the yard and walking in the woods with their animals, they should also be aware of the dangers their pet could encounter, said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. It's important for owners to be vigilant about inspecting their pets frequently throughout the season.

NPMA offers the following tips to prevent fleas and ticks:

  • Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt. Be aware of excessive scratching, licking and nibbling grooming behavior in pets
  • Avoid walking in tall grass where there is a greater chance of encountering fleas and ticks
  • Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail
  • Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals
  • Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys frequently
  • Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently
  • Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle
  • Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to treat the problem.

For more information or to find a professional, visit

The 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 property.