Did you know Mosquito’s are more than just irritating pests, mosquitoes are a primary cause of heartworm in dogs? As with humans, a bite from a mosquito can result in everything from an annoying itch to more serious parasitic diseases. In dogs, heartworm disease is the primary concern.
The parasite can cause injury to the lungs, arteries and the heart. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Exercise intolerance
There is nothing worse than finding out your dog is feeling unwell due to a mosquito bite – when there were things you could have put in place to protect your dog. Here are a couple tips for how to protect your dog from common ways that dogs get bitten:
- DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog
Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. DEET, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs. When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, and if they do, contact your vet immediately.
- Remove leave stagnant water around your home
Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home. To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home (like the puddle of water behind your air conditioner or the dish of three-day-old water under your plants). You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.
- No walks your dog during peak mosquito times
Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.
- Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs
Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
- Fix any broken window screens in your home
Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog-roommate as much as you think. Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too. Follow all these tips and you’ll have a healthy, bite-free dog all summer long. Frolic away!