By Ashley Watson
While many pet owners start thinking about flea and tick prevention when the weather starts to get warm in the spring, it’s easy to forget about the threat of mosquitoes. Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to mosquito bites as humans. The good news is that all insects have the same neurological pathways, which means that most bug repellants are designed to work on all pests.
However, when pet owners use a new product without consulting with a vet or reading the instructions carefully, some products can cause serious reactions in pets and people. According to a study reported by the Humane Society, many of the pyrethroid-based flea and tick treatments on the market have been linked to “thousands of reported pet poisonings.” But most of these incidents are caused by the person using the product.
In another article in the Wall Street Journal, Anjali Athavaley discusses the growing problem of pet poisonings, “Veterinarians and manufacturers say that most of the problems they see are cases where the treatment has been misused.” This is why it is imperative that pet owners consult with vets before treating their animals with any kind of flea and tick treatment or bug spray for mosquito protection.
The Humane Society provides a few cautionary tips for pet owners from the post in the link above.
- Never use dog treatments on cats, and vice versa
- Always be certain of your pet’s weight before purchase to ensure proper dosage
- Don’t split one “large dog” dose in half for two small dogs (or combine two “small dog” doses for one large dog)
- Read and follow all instructions when using these products
- Do not use these products on elderly or pregnant animals
One of the safest ways to treat pets and protect them from mosquitoes is to discuss a comprehensive plan with a trusted veterinarian. Vets can help by educating clients about the variety of preventive measures that pet owners can accomplish fairly easily.
Protecting Pets Without Chemicals
There are a few ways to protect pets against mosquitoes and supplement the veterinarian-recommended treatment. One method is to control the environment around the home so that mosquitoes are not attracted to the places where pets regularly play. Removing sources of stagnant water, such as clogged gutters and birdbaths, or filling in holes and other places where water can collect is a good way to discourage a growth in the mosquito population. Just like fleas and ticks, mosquitoes are attracted to tall grass, so mowing the lawn regularly and controlling weeds are other ways to prevent mosquitoes from being attracted to areas around the yard and outside the home.
Finding a bug spray that is safe and effective is another way to deter mosquitoes from biting pets. Surprisingly, catnip is often used as an insect repellant, either in a catnip-based product or as a tea. Growing it in the yard may also help keep the mosquito population down. Plus, the cats will love it!
Natural products that are recommended by and sold through veterinarians, such as Vetri-Repel Spray by Vetri-Science® of Vermont, are safe because they do not use drugs or synthetic chemicals, and they have no known toxic effects from licking the skin. Vetri-Repel uses Brazilian oils (lemongrass, sesame, cinnamon, and caster oil) that are derived from certified forests, which have been used for centuries by the indigenous people of the Amazon forest to keep biting insects and other pests away from their skin. This product also comes in a convenient wipe for a quick and easy application when spending time outdoors with pets.
What do you do to repel mosquitoes during the summer? Share your tips with us on Facebook.