While the temperatures are rising, so are the number of mosquitoes in the air. Many states joke that the mosquito is their state bird, but this tiny bloodsucker really plagues the vast majority of the United States. While these bites may be annoying for humans, they are dangerous and even deadly to pets. They spread harmful diseases like heartworm and West Nile to our furry friends.
The recommendation is always to use a heartworm preventative in conjunction with a broad-spectrum flea/tick preventative medication. Combined, these two are quite effective in protecting your dog or outdoor cat. In addition to these preventative treatments, here are some helpful tips to remind all pet owners struggling with mosquito control.
1. Never use DEET products on your pet. This can cause neurological problemssuch as seizures, tremors, or even death.
2. There are pet friendly mosquito products at your local pet store. If your pets will be joining you outside or spending time with you while you are wearing a bug spray, consider these options.
3. Be careful with essential oils. We recommend you check with your vet before you open up the oils as some pets (cats especially) can be sensitive to these oils. Tea Tree oil is especially toxic to cats, so use caution.
4. The citronella plant is toxic to pets, so be careful to avoid pet access to these if they are in your garden.
5. Instead of citronella, consider citrus juice or select oils to apply to your pet’s coat. You can either squeeze some lemons directly onto their coat (avoiding eyes, sores and any cuts) or you can make a spray mixture of six freshly squeezed lemons to 1 quart of water. (Bring to a boil, steep for an hour, and put in a bottle once cooled.)
6. A few other plants help repel mosquitoes, but aren’t toxic to our furry friends: basil, catnip, lemon balm, and rosemary. (Avoid other plants that are harmful to animals like peppermint, geraniums, citronella, lavender, garlic and some varieties of marigolds.)
7. A last reminder to help curb mosquitoes is to keep standing water clean or covered. This means keeping pet water dishes clean daily or keep any standing bodies of water covered as these are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your pets remain mosquito free for the rest of the summer!