For humans, bug bites can be annoying and occasionally, dangerous. After all, a single mosquito bite can be enough to drive us bonkers. The same holds true for our four-legged friends. Unfortunately, their inability to speak and furry coat can make it difficult to recognize when they are suffering from a bug bite or sting. So, what’s a loving pet owner to do? Glad you asked!
As is often the case, knowledge is power. Here are some common pests that can’t wait to sink their teeth (or stinger) into your fur baby.
Probably the most well known pet pest is fleas. Fleas are tiny bloodthirsty bugs that can be any shade from light brown to black. Fleas will make a meal of your dog or cat and will also bite humans. Common areas for fleas to congregate on your pet are the head, neck, base of the tail, and groin. Flea bites can be quite itchy so if your pet is suffering from fleas he or she will likely be scratching or licking frequently. Flea bites present as red or pink bumps.
If your furry friend does bring home fleas, find out what to do in this article What To Do When Man’s Best Friend Brings Home Fleas.
Ticks are another common insect (technically they’re arachnids) that will latch onto you or your pet for a blood based meal. Ticks typically latch onto a host when that individual or animal brushes against tall grass, shrubs, or leaf litter. A tick bite in and of itself doesn’t hurt; unfortunately, many ticks carry bacteria and other pathogens which can be harmful to the host so they should be removed immediately. Ticks stay latched onto the host so their brown-black bodies may be visible as well as redness and puffiness around the bite.
Worried about ticks? Here’s a great article on flea and tick control.
A third vampire-like insect that’d love to take a sip of your pet’s blood (or your blood) is mosquitos. If you’ve ever been feasted on by a mosquito you know that their bites can be pretty irritating and can often lead to vigorous scratching no matter how hard you try to resist. The same is true for your pet. Pets can feel a mosquito biting so sudden jerking around, licking, chewing, or scratching may signal a mosquito bite. In addition, repeated licking, chewing, or scratching at the same spot may signal your pet is suffering form a mosquito bite.
Unfortunately, mosquito bites are more than a mere annoyance. A bite can pass on illnesses such as the Zika virus and parasites such as heartworms.
Note: At this time, studies have not been done on whether or not the Zika virus can be transmitted to cats and dogs.
Bees, Hornets, & Wasps
While common stinging insects like bees, hornets, and wasps won’t seek your pet out, they will sting your four-legged family member if they feel threatened. A sting may result in your dog suddenly jerking, yipping, chewing, licking, or scratching. Depending on what type of sting your dog suffers and the area affected, the sting can lead to serious pain, inflammation, and illness like diarrhea.
A fly bite can cause pain, swelling, itching, and redness in your pet. A fly bite will probably not cause long lasting damage to your pet except in cases of open wounds. A fly may deposit eggs on your pet’s skin, specifically in open wounds. If the eggs hatch, the larvae can burrow into the open wound causing additional swelling and dangerous infections. If your pet has an open wound be sure to treat it carefully and keep a close eye on it until it has healed.
While bed bugs prefer to feast on humans, they will bite and feed on pets. Typically, your pet is only at risk if they are in an infested place such as your home or a hotel. Bed bug bites on your pet may look very similar to flea bites. They can result in redness, swelling, and itching.
Check out these tips on identifying bed bugs in your home.
There are multiple things you can do to protect your fur baby from these and other pests. Talk to your veterinarian about preventative treatments such as pills and creams that can be given to your pet to keep these insects at bay. In addition, if your pet is bitten or stung by an insect contact your vet promptly. Your vet will be able to tell you if the bite or sting is dangerous and likely be able to provide some kind of treatment to mitigate any swelling, itching, and risk of infection.
Another thing you can to to protect your pet and yourself is contact a trusted pest control company, like Scherzinger pest control, to treat your home for any unwelcome guests. Even if you aren’t currently dealing with an infestation, ScherZinger can take preventative steps.
For help protecting your family and pets, trust ScherZinger Pest Control, a pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.