Simple ways pet owners can keep their animals safe from pests
The spring season is a time when all members of the family, including pets, wander outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and blossoming flowers. Unfortunately, it’s also prime pest season, which means pets are at risk of encountering hungry fleas and ticks that are in search of active hosts. As such, we encourage pet owners to take precautions against these dangerous pests during the warmer months.
Fleas are more than just an itchy annoyance. Their saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and can transfer tapeworms in pets. Ticks can spread bacteria to pets and cause tick paralysis, which occurs when a female tick attaches near a pet’s spinal cord. This condition can lead to muscle weakness, loss of coordination and in some cases, death from respiratory failure as chest muscles become paralyzed.
In addition to the health threats posed by fleas and ticks, both pests are small in size and extremely mobile, making them difficult to detect and get rid of once inside the home. It’s extremely important for pet owners to be cautious of these pests and contact a licensed pest professional if they suspect an infestation. The National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, offers these tips to keep pets pest-free:
- Check pets’ coats thoroughly for ticks and fleas on a regular basis, especially after spending time outdoors. Be aware of excessive scratching and licking.
- Avoid walking dogs in tall grass, where there is a greater chance of encountering ticks.
- 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 regularly.
- Empty vacuum bags in an outside receptacle.
- Speak to a veterinarian about flea and tick prevention treatments.