While fleas are often top of mind for pet owners, there are other pests that can be dangerous for your dog or cat. Many common pests carry parasites and bacteria that can lead to heartworm, rabies, Lyme disease and physical illness such as vomiting and diarrhea. Here are some of the pests you need to watch and be wary of your pets coming into contact with.
1. Mosquitoes – Just like with humans, mosquitoes carry a number of illnesses and parasites that can be harmful to your pet. The most common of these illnesses is heartworm and other parasites. Heartworm can be very difficult to treat and can be fatal for your pet if it goes undetected. Heartworm is most common in dogs since they go outside frequently, however, indoor/outdoor cats can also be infected with heartworm by mosquitoes.
2. Stink Bugs and Boxelder Bugs – While neither of these bugs is poisonous and both taste bad, cats and dogs will sometimes ingest them. If ingested, these bugs cause upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting and excess salivation.
3. Fire Ants – Fire ant venom can cause an allergic reaction for your pet if they get bit. This allergic reaction can range from mild swelling to fatal anaphylactic shock.
4. Caterpillars – Some caterpillars sting or transmit venom in some way and can make your pet sick or cause swelling at the site of the bite or sting. Others, such as the wooly bear caterpillar, have microscopic hairs all over their body that can get stuck in your pet’s throat and mouth causing gagging, coughing and tissue damage.
5. Venomous Spiders – Spiders such as the Black Widow and Brown Recluse are just as dangerous to your pet as they are to humans. If your pet gets bit, seek medical attention immediately. Smaller animals such as toy breed dogs and cats can die from the venom of these bugs.
6. Rodents, Mice and Rats – Mice and rats are a risk to your pet, especially if they ingest it. Not only do mice and rats carry a number of diseases, bacteria and parasites, but they also could cause secondary poisoning for your pet if the rodent has recently ingested poisoned bait.
After any insect or rodent encounter from this list, be sure to consult with your veterinarian. If your pet is showing signs of distress after the encounter, an emergency visit for appropriate medical care might be necessary. Be especially careful to watch for the following signs: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, swollen face or mouth, foamy saliva, changes in appetite, worms in stools, rash, coughing and excessive drooling. If you are having issues with any of these pests in your home, call The Pest Force.