It’s a beautiful summer day: the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and everyone is smiling - everyone except for our fur babies. Mr. Whiskers is a mass of grumpiness, mosquito bites, and flea dirt. Spot, meanwhile, is cowering under a park bench doing his best to get rid of a tick that has been burrowing its way into his side. Even as the summer sun fades into fall chills, pet guardians still need to keep an eye out for these telltale signs of infestation. Just one bad flea bite, with the laundry list of risky diseases they carry, can make even tough old Brutus require a trip to the vet. Today we’ll learn a bit more about the ‘dangerous trifecta,’ fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, and learn some things we can do to keep our furry friends safe.
The Trifecta: Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitos
If there were a league of parasite supervillains, these three would be fighting for the top spot.
Fleas: These small wingless insects can put a world-class long jumper to shame. Their ability to jump more than 100 times their body’s length is how the humble flea gets from the ground to our poor pup’s back. And it’s how they can jump from fur baby to fur baby, even when they don’t seem like they’ve been standing very close to each other. Once situated, these pests get to work, draining blood and vigor. While their feces and constant biting can drive dogs into frenzied bouts of itching, these things aren’t what make them dangerous. That honor goes to their ability to carry a wide variety of diseases, including bubonic plague and typhoid.
- Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day. In 20 days, this can leave us with more than 20,000 fleas in our homes.
- While rare, flea infestations can lead to diseases, called zoonosis, that can cross the human-animal barrier. The most famous of these diseases are the infamous Cat Scratch fever and Bubonic Plague.
- Fleas can jump more than 150 times their body length.
- The cleanliness of our home has no bearing on flea infestations, but cleaning can help.
Ticks: With eight legs and bloated bodies, it’d take a special person to love a tick. These blood-sucking arachnids go through four stages in their short lives. In order to jump to the next one, they’ve got to find an unsuspecting human or animal to get a fattening blood meal. Unlike fleas, ticks do not leave any real signs of their passage, meaning the only way to find one is to rub our fingers over our pet’s stomach and limbs. While an infestation of ticks is unlikely, they’re still carriers of dangerous diseases and should be avoided with some simple best practices.
- The American and Brown dog ticks are the most common carriers of dog diseases.
- As arachnids, ticks are more closely related to scorpions and spiders than insects.
- Lone Star Tick bites can leave humans and dogs with an adverse reaction to red meat.
- Ticks can stay anchored for more than 3 days at a time.
Mosquitoes: The worst thing about mosquitoes is the fact that they can go long distances to find us. Unlike fleas and ticks, which can only jump so far, there’s virtually nowhere a mosquito can’t go, weather permitting. When they find our dog, they find a perfect place to jab and get right to sucking the blood out of poor old Rover. As these flying insects are intermediate hosts for heartworms, even a single bite can prove deadly.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to the chemicals in human and canine sweat.
- Female mosquitoes can lay upwards of 300 eggs after every meal.
- Only female mosquitoes bite. Male mosquitoes actually get by just fine on nectar.
- A mosquito’s wings can beat up to 600 times per second.
Five Things We Can Do to Keep Our Cats and Dogs Pest Free
Keeping our animals flea, tick, and mosquito - free isn’t always easy. But, it’s just one small part of being a responsible pet guardian. Here are some things we can do to ensure our animals enjoy year-round comfort.
Stay Up to Date on Preventative Treatments: One of the best ways to safeguard our pets is to take the figurative sting out of these parasites’ bites. Flea collars, flea powders, heartworm treatment, and topical insect repellant are all options. EcoBug is an all-natural pest repellent and itch remedy that will keep our buddies free of diseases and discomfort. Just be sure to follow the directions and to avoid mixing treatments for different animals. Many products that are 100-percent safe for Fido the dog can prove deadly for Felix the cat. Plus, animal size and dosage matter.
Bathe Them Regularly: Keeping our pets squeaky clean can aide in the detection and prevention of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Be sure to read the warning labels before using these products on particularly young or frail animals. There are inexpensive shampoo options that will keep our pet’s skin healthy. Remember human shampoos are not balanced for pet skin and can irritate them, and even cause sores and open wounds to develop.
Keep the Yard Clean: Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can all find safe havens in an unkempt yard. Ticks can go unseen in the curls of long grasses, while fleas can find wild animals to cling to in that unprotected crawlspace. And mosquitoes can reproduce in that slimy birdbath or ever-present puddle that never dries out under the hose connector. By keeping those hedges trimmed and that mower well-oiled, we keep the pests from ever getting near our precious pets in the first place.
Keep Our Pets Indoors: Keeping our pets inside and out of wooded or wetland areas can play a big part in helping our animals live a parasite free life. Many of us are active and love a good hike or camping excursion. In that case, be sure to practice good examination techniques upon returning, as well as using a high-quality repellent, like EcoBug before leaving the trailhead. Thoroughly check them for mosquito bites, embedded ticks, and signs of flea infestation.
Use A Pet-Safe Repellent: There are plenty of great over-the-counter products that help keep pests—including fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes—from coming into our yards. The fact is, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pest control solutions that is as powerful as commercial treatments, but safe and gentle on our pet’s health. The best solution is EcoBug, an all-natural, flea, tick, and mosquito spray that repels pests, and keeps the entire household safe from pathogens and diseases.
All of us want our pets to live parasite-free. But, ensuring that lifestyle isn’t always easy. While keeping our home clean will help, it’s not the end-all-be-all of pest prevention. Instead, we need to keep our eyes on our yards and our animal’s vaccination schedule. For those of us in the market for an all-natural flea and tick spray, it’s high time we took a look at EcoBug.
More Info Available:
- Keep Your Dog Safe From Mosquitos, DogTime
- Fascinating Facts About Mosquitos, Thought Co
- Keep Pets Safe From Fleas and Ticks, Parade