How to Protect Your Pets from Pest Threats

Whether your furry, four-legged friend is a cat, dog, or rabbit, they are a beloved part of your family. Unfortunately, as with the human members of your family, pets are just as likely to be exposed to health threats posed by pests. It’s important to know and to minimize the threats that pests can present, so your pet’s health is protected.

Below are some of the most common insects and other pests that household pets can encounter, that are also the most likely to affect your pet's wellbeing.

Interested in learning more about these pests and how you can protect your pets from any impact? Check out the educational videos below for more helpful information!

Or scroll further for additional detail about how these pests can harm your pets.

Additional Detail About Each Pest:


Removing a tick from a dog

For animals that spend a lot of time outdoors, protecting your pet from ticks is critical, as this pest poses a big threat to their health. These tiny arachnids are a common pest among household pets and are capable of can spreading several different types of diseases to pets. Depending on the species, these illnesses could include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and “tick paralysis”, an illness that causes muscle weakness, loss of coordination and potentially death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed. Pets that spend a lot of time in grassy or wooded areas are more susceptible to tick bites, but they can be easily prevented.

Protecting your pet from ticks is as simple as keeping your lawn and yard well maintained and always being sure to walk your pets in the center of trails where ticks are less likely to be found.

After spending time outside, inspect your pet thoroughly. If a tick is found, remove it immediately and monitor your pet for any new symptoms. If you can, clean the area with soap and water and monitor for signs of a rash. Brushing their coat can help detect any ticks that have latched on. If interested in preventative medicine, contact your veterinarian to discuss the best option for protecting your pet from ticks.


A dog itching from fleas

Fleas are another common insect that can affect cats and dogs. This very small pest can cause itchy, red bumps that make your pet itch uncontrollably. They can also cause anemia, flea allergy dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms. Fleas are known for their ability to reproduce quickly, laying eggs on their host which then hatch and reproduce themselves. This makes a flea infestation very difficult to control, so it is best to work with a pest control professional to eliminate the problem.

Luckily for homeowners, there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid fleas in the home. Bathing your pets regularly, especially with a shampoo that kills fleas of all life stages, is a great way to prevent fleas. Also, vacuum the house and wash your pet’s bedding, crates and toys regularly.

Veterinarians can recommend preventative flea treatments for cats and dogs.

Cockroaches and Rodents

Cockroach on a Cheez-It  Rats in garbage

Homeowners shudder at the thought of a cockroach or rodent infestation in their home. That’s because these two pests are filthy and known for spreading diseases and pathogens to humans and can contaminate pet foods. Unfortunately, cockroaches are harmful to pets and are capable of biting them in defense or making them sick. Cockroaches can transmit tapeworm and salmonella, while rodents are host to a whole slew of pathogens that can put your four-legged pets at risk. You can prevent both cockroaches and rodents from causing any harm to your pets or your home by practicing proper prevention, specifically good hygiene and sanitation. Make sure to clear kitchen counters and sinks of any food debris or dirty dishes. Additionally, be sure to dispose of garbage in a sealed container far away from the home to deter these pests from coming indoors. It’s also a good idea to pick up pet food bowls in between meals, to breakdown boxes and clutter that can accumulate from home deliveries and to check packages before bringing them inside.

Stinging Insects

Close-up of a bumble bee

Hornets, yellow jackets, wasps, and bees are common summertime stinging insects that can seriously injure your pets. While one sting might not have too much of an impact, some of these pests sting multiple times and can attack predators as a colony. Unfortunately, if an animal or human is stung too many times or has an allergic reaction, this can result in death due to anaphylactic shock. Additionally, pets are at risk of accidentally swallowing stinging insects which can cause other health complications.

Keep pets and your human family members protected from any stinging pests by ensuring your property is free of nests. Take a look at your property throughout the spring and summer to see if you spot any signs of a stinging insect nest. If one is found, work with a pest control professional to have it removed as these pests can become aggressive and the removal of a nest should be done by a pro.


Mosquito biting someone

Known for being one of the most annoying summer pests, mosquitoes are capable of biting and transmitting diseases to animals in addition to humans. While West Nile virus is one of the most well-known mosquito-borne illnesses, heartworm is a major concern for cat and dog owners and is commonly transmitted by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, when it comes to how to protect your pet from mosquitoes, this one can be trickier. This pest has a fast life cycle and populations can be difficult to control. It is best to work with a pest control professional to create a prevention plan best suited for your property.

Luckily for homeowners, there are ways to prevent mosquitoes before an infestation begins. Mosquitoes can reproduce in as little as a bottlecap of water, so it is important to eliminate standing water around the home, such as birdbaths and baby pools. Additionally, minimize outdoor activities for pets, such as walks, around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

It’s also a good idea to consult your veterinarian about any medications that can protect your pet from heart worm, especially during active mosquito season.


House fly spreading germs

Capable of transmitting more than 100 pathogens, flies are filthy household pests that can contaminate the food you eat and items throughout your home. Sometimes, when pets become dirty, flies are drawn to them resulting in bites and irritation. Leaving litter boxes dirty for too long and pet waste throughout the yard can also attract this pest to your pets and home.

To prevent fly infestations, practice proper hygiene. This can be done by promptly cleaning up pet waste indoors and outdoors and disposing of it in a sealed trash container. Additionally, keep counters clear of any food debris and ensure all windows and doors are screened to keep flies out.