We all know how annoying mosquitoes are and how quickly they can spoil a fun summer event such as evening barbecues and camping trips. They swarm and bite, causing itching and irritation to the area. Itchy mosquito bites are the worst, but did you realize these pesky blood suckers can be dangerous to pets? Mosquitoes are the only way dogs and cats contract heartworms. All it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito. It takes about seven months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once the heartworms are mature they lodge into the animal’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels and begin reproducing, which over time will cause internal damage to the animal.
It’s important to talk to your vet about heartworm preventative to help keep your pet safe, but what else can you do to help protect your furry family members?
Most people know that mosquitoes need water to breed. Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water, they will also use slow moving water, soil that stays moist or leaf litter that stays moist. Removal of these types of water sources will help reduce mosquitoes from breeding near your home.
• Walk your property after it rains, look for areas that puddle and do not drain well, if the puddles stay for a more than 3 days, consider re-grading the area
• Keep gutters clean and free of debris. If water is allowed to sit, the gutter becomes a great out of sight breeding ground
• Swimming pools must be kept clean and chlorinated even when not being used
• Drill holes on the bottom on outdoor garbage cans that are exposed to rain to allow drainage for any water that may accumulate
• Aerate ornamental ponds to keep the water moving which will discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs. You could also stock the pond with fish that eat mosquitoes
• Other places for water are bird baths, garbage can lids, flower pot saucers. Do not allow water to stay for long, dump water every three days. Remember to watch out for your pets, don’t leave out the same water in bowls for more than two days
There is always the option of contacting a pest control company to come to your house and treat the area with professional products, but the treatments won’t work as well if there is still standing water around the property.
Be proactive and follow our tips to help keep your pets safe from mosquitoes and heartworm.