Any pet owner knows the dangers of fleas and ticks, but another pest is threatening your pet and is talked about much less—mosquitoes. Before a backyard barbecue or a weekend camping trip, humans arm themselves with sprays and candles to repel mosquitoes, while often forgetting to take the same precautions against mosquito bites on dogs.
Mosquito Bites Can Be Dangerous to Dogs
Mosquitoes might not seem like an issue for furry animals like dogs and cats, but all that fur doesn't stop mosquitoes from biting them. While you may generally associate mosquito bites with itching and irritation, they can also spread serious bacterial and parasitic infections, chief among them heartworm disease.1 Mosquitoes play a critical role in transmitting heartworm from host animals to dogs and cats. Once mature, heartworms can live for years in your pet. Due to their longevity, each mosquito season poses a potential risk of increasing the number of worms in an infected pet.If you suspect your dog has heartworms, see a veterinarian immediately.
Beyond heartworms, other mosquito-borne infections include West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Both are rare in dogs, but not impossible to catch.2
While there's not enough research to definitively claim whether or not the Zika virus affects cats and dogs (the first confirmed case of Zika was found in a Rhesus monkey living in the Zika Forest), concern about its spread in the United States continues.3 Though less common than heartworm disease, all these infections can cause serious illness for your pets and you and should be on your radar.
If you're thinking of sharing your DEET with your pet when out in the garden or on the trail—not so fast. DEET and other human insect repellents should never be applied to cats and dogs since pets tend to lick themselves. The repellents can cause stomach upset, skin irritation, or worse.4 The best plan of action to keep your pets safe is to take longer-term preventive measures.
Here are some tips to control mosquitoes around your home and avoid mosquito bites on your dogs altogether.
Remove Standing Water, Then Spray Your Yard
Remove standing water around your home and yard and change the water in your pet's water bowl at least once a day. Mosquitoes are attracted to moist areas and lay eggs around and in standing water. They only need an inch of water to breed in, and rarely travel more than 1,000 feet away from where they breed.
After you've done this, spray your yard for mosquitoes. Adams Yard & Garden Spray kills fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and ants.
Repair Your House
Fix any broken windows and screens in your home and fill gaps between air conditioners and window sills. If you wake up with new bites (be sure to check your pets!), there may be an open place where mosquitoes are getting in.
Avoid Peak Hours
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Avoid walking your pets or leaving them outside during peak mosquito times.
Find Appropriate Products for Your Pets
Look for repellent products specifically made for cats and dogs. Again, solutions made for humans are not typically safe for pets. But quite a few over-the-counter dog products designed for fleas and ticks can also protect against mosquitoes.
Adams Flea & Tick Collar Plus for Dogs and Puppies repels mosquitoes for up to six months per collar. The adjustable and water-resistant collars use extended-release technology to provide lasting protection.
Adams Plus Flea and Tick Prevention Spot On for Dogs also kills and repels mosquitoes, and protects against fleas and ticks for up to 30 days.
It's vital for your pet's safety to take precautions against mosquito bites. Ask your veterinarian for advice to create a prevention plan that will best suit your pet's needs.
1. FDA. "Keep the Worms Out of Your Pet's Heart! The Facts about Heartworm Disease." FDA.gov, https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/keep-worms-out-your-pets-heart-facts-about-heartworm-disease.
2. Mass.gov. "WNV and EEE in Animals." Mass.gov, https://www.mass.gov/service-details/wnv-and-eee-in-animals.
3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine. "Can My Pet Get Zika?" VetMed.Illinois.edu, 29 September 2016, https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet_column/zika-virus-pets/#:~:text=Yes%2C%20some%20do.,immune%20response%20to%20the%20virus.
4. Humane Society of Broward County. "The Dog Days of Summer: Mosquitoes." HumaneBroward.com, 2 August 2016, https://humanebroward.com/the-dog-days-of-summer-mosquitoes/.