As we look forward with expectation to a wonderful summer so, unfortunately, do parasites and pests. Mosquitoes are annoying to our summer plans, whether they include relaxing on a northern vacation, barbecuing in the backyard or hiking near the Credit River. Although they seldom show it, dogs can be victims of these pests, too. Mosquito bites should be avoided because they can cause excessive itchiness and they can transmit heartworm disease to our pets. We’ve put together some good ideas for their prevention, so everyone can enjoy summer fun.
The best prevention for mosquito bites is to try and reduce the risk of exposure. Try to avoid the early morning and early evening hours when letting your dog go outside to do their “business”. This is when mosquitoes are most active, and pets are more likely to get bitten. If you know you will be in a highly mosquito populated area, a cover up might be an option. A light, wind-breaker type jacket can act as an extra barrier for your dog, without getting them too hot. Avoid hiking near swampy areas with stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. And we can help keep mosquitoes at bay in our backyards by setting up citronella rings and bug zappers- out of reach of curious pets, of course!
When you and your dog are outside enjoying the weather, there are a few products that can be used to repel mosquitoes. A word of warning however, human products containing DEET should never be used on your dog. N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide products are toxic to dogs.
The following have been used safely with dogs. Avon “Skin So Soft” is a bath oil that can be diluted and sprayed onto your dog prior to going outside to help deter mosquitos. Dilute 1-1/2 ounces of this product to 1 gallon of water. Or try, diluting freshly squeezed lemons in water and spraying onto the coat. Remember to avoid the eyes and any cuts when applying either of these solutions. To apply to the face, spray into your own hand and gently wipe around the ears, eyes, mouth and nose.
If your dog’s needs exceed home remedies like these, please speak with us for an alternative. Advantix is a product that is applied topically once a month and kills and repels mosquitoes, as well as several other warm-weather parasites like ticks and fleas. There are also flea sprays that will repel mosquitoes and reduces bites.
As nothing will prevent every mosquito bite, we always recommend using a heartworm preventative. This fatal disease is difficult to treat and is transmitted through a simple mosquito bite. Even dogs kept primarily indoors can also be exposed to mosquitoes and consequently need heartworm prevention.
Taking these few simple precautions against mosquito bites will help both you and your dog enjoy the summer together.