Protecting Your Pets Against Mosquitoes

Did you know that mosquitoes love pets as much as they love humans? It’s true! 

While you lather yourself up with Mosquito repellents to protect yourself, you leave your dog open to mosquito bites and illnesses. 

Luckily for our furry four-legged friends, there are a lot of human diseases that are spread through mosquito bites that are not contagious to canines.

However, there are still dangers to look out for.

Here are some of the dangers of mosquito bites for dogs, some preventative measures you can take, and some ways to treat mosquito bites on dogs when you spot them.

1. Heartworm

Heartworm is a potentially life-threatening parasite that can spread from a single mosquito bite, causing major problems in the heart, blood vessels, and lungs of your four-legged friend. It is important to be prepared and make sure your dog is treated to prevent heartworm before the start of mosquito season.

Symptoms to keep an eye out for:

Coughing
Fatigue
Difficulty Breathing
Weight loss
Bulging chest
Collapse

Lifecycle of D. immitis 

2. West Nile Virus

The West Nile virus is generally milder for dogs as compared to humans. But, the symptoms can be quite severe for dogs with compromised immune systems.

Symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes
By Senior Airman Rachel Sievers, 49th Medical Group Public Health Office / Published October 11, 2016

3. Allergic Reactions

Most dogs, like humans, will get a swollen, itchy bump at the site of a mosquito bite. However, some dogs may suffer from a more severe allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention.

Here are some symptoms of a severe allergic reaction in dogs:

  • Swelling, especially of the face
  • Hives
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Tips To Protect Your Dog From Mosquito Bites

When it comes to diseases spread by mosquitoes, the best solution is prevention.

Here are some tips to protect your dog from mosquito bites.

1. Stay updated on the Heartworm treatment

Whatever course of heartworm treatment you and your veterinarian have decided to provide to your dog, make sure it is up-to-date and your dog is protected.

https://www.humanemanatee.org/clinic/heartworm/

2. Avoid the outdoors 

Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, so it may be best to walk your dog at other times of the day. 

The best way to prevent mosquito bites is by keeping your dog inside the house and making sure the doors and windows are shut properly. 

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

3. Invest in a dog-safe insect repellent

Do not under any circumstances use your mosquito repellent on your dog. There are several insect repellents on the market that are specifically designed for dogs.

You can go for more natural solutions containing lemon eucalyptus oil, geranium oil and soybean oil, thyme, clove oil, and neem oil.

But it is best to consult your veterinarian before deciding which repellent to use. 

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

4. Stagnant water is a big no

Pools of water make the perfect breeding grounds for all kinds of mosquitoes.
Make sure there’s no standing water anywhere, be it in puddles, ponds, outdoor dog bowls, and birdbaths, or your dog is at much greater risk for bites.

PHOTO BY BARRY/ENNOR VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

5. Grow naturally repelling plants

There are several plants like basil, catnip, lavender, rosemary that act as natural mosquito repellents, and planting a few on your property may reduce your dog’s chances of getting bitten.

Even if you take precautions, mosquito bites can happen. If your dog is bitten by a mosquito, keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms, especially those listed above, and take your dog to see the veterinarian if anything is out of the ordinary.

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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