Protecting Families with Pet Parasite Prevention
Parasites are organisms that feed off of other animals. For pets, the most common parasites are fleas, ticks, and heartworms. These critters all pose a threat to your pet, and some even put your human family at risk. Ticks and many intestinal parasites can target humans as their host, too, while the diseases carried by fleas and ticks are considered “zoonotic” meaning they can pass from pets to people. Pet parasite prevention is the best, most effective way to protect your pet and your family from these dangerous creatures.
Preventing Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are persistent—fleas lay many eggs not only on your pet, but in their bedding, your carpet, and more. While in the warmth of your home, they easily weather the winter. Meanwhile, ticks patiently wait on the blades of grass or the leaves of low-lying plants for a passing victim. They too can weather the winter surprisingly well and be active at temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Preventative medication is the best way to reduce and even eliminate the risk of these parasites infesting your pet, yet there are many things you can do to help. To supplement consistent preventatives, you can take the following precautions:
- Clean your pet’s bedding often, especially if there’s been any lapse in their preventative medication. Fleas are notorious for being difficult to get rid of.
- Doing a deep clean of your carpet, blankets, and furniture can be helpful, too, in catching any rogue flea pupae that could have escaped the most recent flea preventive application.
- Always check your pet for ticks after they’ve been outdoors, no matter what the weather.
- If you do find a tick on your pet’s skin, be sure to pull it off with tweezers as soon as possible. If you are squeamish about this, bring your pet straight to us during our opening hours, and we can assist you.
Heartworm disease occurs when an infected mosquito bites your pet, and the heartworm larvae travel through the bloodstream to the heart and lung blood vessels where they mature and multiply. Most dogs will have no clinical symptoms until the disease is much further progressed, so it’s important to test them for heartworm disease often. While cats are atypical hosts for heartworm, they are also at risk. Prevention is the only way to effectively protect your pet from heartworm disease. While there is treatment for dogs, it is costly and risky. Meanwhile, cats have no treatment options available, so prevention is of paramount importance. You can prevent heartworm disease with effective medication as well as keeping these important tips in mind:
- Make sure there is no standing water in your yard or near the house, as these are perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, shying away from the heat of the day and the cool of night. Try to adjust your pet’s walking schedule to mid-morning or late afternoon, when the day is not quite at its hottest, yet the mosquitoes are not out in force yet either.
- Make sure your dog is tested regularly for heartworm. The sooner we are aware of an infestation, the more effective and cost-efficient the treatments are.
Make an appointment today to talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s parasite prevention options. We carry a wide range of parasite preventatives and can find the right one that suits your pet and your budget.