What you can do to keep them safe
Living in South Florida, it’s kind of impossible to escape mosquitos. We all know they’re out there and ready and willing to bite us, which is why many of us take extra time to get ready before we leave our homes. This may involve wearing strategic clothing or perhaps going heavy with the bug spray.
And while you might make sure you and perhaps your kids are protected, are there some members of your family you’re forgetting? In addition to us humans, mosquitos can also hurt our pets, and dogs specifically.
What bad things can mosquitos give to dogs?
Mosquitos spread an assortment of diseases and viruses, and while most of them are just as harmful to people, some can affect dogs as well. One of these is the West Nile virus. The effects of the West Nile virus typically aren’t as severe with dogs as they are with people. However, it can be serious for very young or older dogs with a medical condition, weakening their immune systems.
Symptoms of West Nile virus in dogs include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
There are two other diseases dogs can get from mosquito bites: Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. While rare, owners should take special care to ensure that potentially vulnerable dogs get as much protection as possible from mosquito bites.
Heartworms are probably something your vet has talked to you about, but did you know they are caused by mosquitos? Often, all it takes is one bite that allows mosquito larva to get into a dog’s bloodstream. Once inside, these worms can wreak havoc on the heart, as well as blood vessels and lungs. If left untreated, dozens – if not hundreds – of worms can live in one dog and they can grow up to a foot long. Signs of heartworm:
- Weight loss
- Coughing or trouble breathing
- Bulging chest
Getting bitten by a mosquito isn’t usually a big deal for a dog; like people, this usually just results in a small itchy bump. In some instances, however, a bite may lead to an allergic reaction. You should immediately seek medical care for your dog if you notice any of these things:
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
What can you do to keep your dog safe and sound?
Protecting your dog from mosquitos isn’t difficult. Here are some good tips to follow:
Keep their heartworm medication updated
Regardless of which type of medication you prefer, it’s important that your dog takes it continuously. If you’re a new dog owner, you may want to talk to your vet about the different options available.
Use the right repellent
It may be tempting to just spritz your dog with whatever insect repellent you use, but this isn’t a good idea. DEET, the main ingredient of most repellents, is toxic to dogs and can cause skin irritation, vomiting, and even seizures. The good news is that there are several dog-friendly repellents on the market.
Make improvements around your yard
You may not realize it, but it’s possible your yard is acting as a mosquito magnet. If, for example, you have pots, birdbaths, and other things that frequently filled with water, you’re offering optimal breeding grounds to these pests. You may also have plants and flowers that are especially attractive to mosquitos, such as tropical milkweed and trumpet vines.
Another home addition you should think about is your own mosquito control system. Using strategically-placed nozzles, a Platinum misting system automatically dispenses insecticide that will keep mosquitos – along with other biting insects – away from your yard and your fur babies. To get more information or for a free onsite consultation, contact Platinum Mosquito Protection.