All Bark, No Bite – How to Keep Pets Pest Free in the Summer Months
Summertime means increased outdoor activity for many Colorado residents and their animal companions. Along with the outdoor adventures comes increased risks for pets of encountering various parasites. Fleas, ticks and even mosquitoes pose a threat to the health of pets; therefore, it is important to take preventative action to keep your companions safe. Prior to starting any preventative medications, always consult with your pet’s veterinarian to ensure that medications will cover the necessary parasites/pests for your area and is appropriate for your pet.
Observation is key in keeping your pets happy and healthy. Checking your pet and their environment frequently for fleas and ticks along with monitoring for excessive licking/grooming and scratching will aide in early detection of potential pest issues. Avoid walking your pet in/near areas of long grasses, prairie dogs or other wildlife dens and burrows. These areas create natural environments in which fleas and ticks often thrive. Long grasses enable ticks to climb high enough to access both humans and animals as they pass by.
Fleas are known for causing allergic dermatitis, anemia and are carriers of several internal parasites and other diseases which can be transferrable to humans including plague. Tick infestations on the other hand may lead to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and/or tick paralysis. The brown dog tick is the only species of tick capable of completing their entire lifecycle including reproduction indoors; however, it is important to contact a pest control professional when fleas or ticks are discovered inside of the home to ensure eradication.
Mosquitoes pose a unique health risk to pets due to their ability to fly. They have the ability to access even home bound pets who do not venture outdoors. The greatest threat for pets from mosquitoes is not related to their bite, they are carriers of heartworms, a parasitic infection which can be fatal. Prevention is geared towards the heartworms themselves and less towards the mosquitoes which carry the parasite.