Pet Articles: Wellness

Can Pets Catch Zika?

Sure, summer’s great — but in more humid areas watch out for the mosquitos. Beyond their annoying buzzing and itchy bites, mosquitos can carry harmful diseases to humans and pets alike.

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How to help your furry loved ones avoid mosquito-borne diseases

Malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever are the more common human illnesses, but the most notable mosquito-borne affliction is heartworm disease. Your veterinarian can tell you how to protect your dog or cat so they don’t suffer from such a potentially dangerous illness.

But now that the buzz over the Zika virus has reignited mosquito control conversations, it’s wise to review and practice some tried-and-true preventive measures.

No standing! (That means you, water)

Standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Be sure to consider all of the locations stagnant water can accumulate on your property.

Watch out for “happy mosquito homes,” like:
  • Birdbaths and feeders
  • Empty garden pots
  • Retired” car tires
  • Creases in grill covers
  • Rain gutters cluttered with leaves
  • Outdoor fire pits
  • Kiddy pools that haven’t been cleaned and drained

Scour your yard for nooks and crannies where rainwater can pool. Tie tarps down tightly and tip empty pots and old tires over. If you collect rainwater for gardening and composting, be sure to water your plants regularly to deplete the supply.

If you leave water bowls outside for pets, remember to clean and turn them over when they’re not in use.

Natural repellents

There’s an array of natural sprays and repellents that are safe for furry friends and effective at minimizing the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses.

Items that contain the chemical DEET can easily harm pets who play outside, so be sure to read labels carefully to verify the ingredients are safe for you and your furry friend.

Good health

There’s still much to learn about Zika, including how to treat it and whether it will affect pets. However, staying current with flea and tick medications is a great way to help protect your dog or cat from the usual suspects. Some monthly flea and tick preventatives can also stop mosquito bites, so look for brands with that extra benefit. 

Unfortunately, mosquitos can also cause heartworm in dogs and cats, so it’s crucial you stay on top of preventative heartworm treatments as well.

Equally important, keep your furry family member’s vaccines up to date. A healthy body and strong immune system is often a pet’s first and last defense.

Feed your best pal wholesome food that’s rich in high-quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables. Like us, eating well and exercising is the best way to help your dog or cat stay healthy and keep harmful bacteria at bay. 

Naturally, mosquito-borne illnesses are cause for concern but there are ways to prevent getting bitten so you and your pets can have a safe and happy summer.