Whether you are running around with the fly swatter, lighting enough citronella candles to illuminate the night, or wielding the bug spray like a teenager with Aquanet in the 80s, there is no denying that summer season brings insects.

Lots of them.

Our pets are often the first to be a testament to this fact, as fleas, ticks, and other pests seek them out. But, pests bring more than itch factor. They can harbor diseases such as heartworm, tapeworm, and Lyme disease, as well as cause serious allergic reactions in both people and pets.

It is possible, however, to get through these muggy, buggy nights (and days) with around-the-home and pet parasite prevention.

Fleas, Ticks, and Other Threats to Your Pet

Prevention is the most important step you can take in preventing pests from harming your pet and entering the home. During your pet’s wellness examination, we consider his or her vaccine and parasite preventive needs based on lifestyle, health, and other factors that may increase exposure.

Some pet owners ask, “Why can’t I just purchase an over-the-counter product?”. What they don’t understand is the risk that pets face when given a heartworm preventative without being pre-screened for heartworm disease. If the pet happens to be infected with heartworms and then given a preventative, the disease won’t get treated since it only prevents, not treats existing worms. Some medications can also increase risk of health complications in pets who test positive for heartworm.

Through consistent annual wellness exams, your pet is monitored for external and internal parasites and given the correct, most effective preventative for him or her.

We also recommend keeping your pet well-groomed. Grooming helps catch unnoticed external parasites and dermatological problems, as well as keeps the skin, coat, ears, and nails healthy.

Pest-Free Home

Now that you have taken the essential steps to keep your pet protected, we turn our attention to the home. Minimizing the likelihood of any type of pest infestation also requires preventive measures.

Here are some easy tips to help keep your home pest-free throughout the year:

  • Keep the yard well-maintained, removing tall stands of weeds and grassesCover all compost and trash bins, and keep them a good distance from the house
  • Discourage wildlife from setting up shop in the yard by removing any hiding or nesting areas (abandoned sheds, gaps under decks, etc.)
  • Call in professional help if you spot a bee or hornet nest in the yard and keep your pet away from the area until the hive is safely removed
  • Frequently vacuum carpets and dispose of the vacuum bags in an outdoor bin
  • Use hot water to wash bed bedding and other fabrics
  • Ensure screens in doors and windows are secure and free from tears or holes
  • Opt for natural bug sprays and products without harmful chemicals that can hurt your pet
  • If you must use bug bombs or sprays, consider boarding your pet until the fumes dissipate
  • Do not use rodenticides and other poisonous chemicals, since these are also extremely poisonous to pets – opt for natural, pet-safe products or live traps

While these nasty critters are most active during the spring and summer months, they need not create havoc for your family. You can keep many insects out of the house with simple household precautions, and you can avoid having them pester your pet by using prescription parasite control products recommended by your Union Lake Veterinary Hospital veterinarian.