Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Heat Is On!

It's that time of year again and the heat is on! Summer is in full swing and already the humidity levels are making it difficult to be outdoors for any length of time. For pet parents, summer is additionally challenging because the increased heat and intermittent rain storms also mean a number of backyard pests will have the ideal conditions to be fruitful and multiply.

Here in the deep south, biting insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks can be a problem at any time of the year, but they are a particular headache during the summer months when both people and pets are spending more time outdoors. These pests are a nuisance for the entire family, particularly because of the potential health hazards they can cause.

It's important to remember that mosquitoes can spread heartworms, fleas can spread tapeworms, and ticks can spread Lyme as well as other diseases, and those are just the problems they cause for pets! The more time your animals spend outside, the more important it will be to keep up their regular vet visits and medications that protect against these pests.

Dogs and cats aren't the only animals that can be seriously affected by these common outdoor pests. More and more people are keeping rabbits and chickens penned and cooped in the backyard and these need to be protected as well.

While it's impossible to eradicate the entire mosquito population, we already know there is a lot we can do on the preventive end to keep them at bay, from getting rid of standing water to using aromatic plants such as citronella geranium to discourage them from making themselves at home in the yard.

When it comes to deterring and fleas and ticks it's important to keep lawns and recreation areas free of leaves other debris that could provide them with a place to hide and breed. You can also create barriers around the edge of the yard with wood chips or gravel.

While getting ahead of pests is essential to summer safety, it's also important to give pets any protection you can from the intense heat. Don't forget that sidewalks and other paved surfaces heat up in the sun and can burn pet paws. Doggie boots can go a long way to keeping your pup's tender pads protected.

If your pets are going to be outside for an extended period of time, make sure they have access to adequate shade as well as an ample supply of fresh water.  Don't forget your pet can also suffer heatstroke! This brings up a topic that can not be overstated at this time of the year: Never, never, never leave your pet locked in a hot car.

Helpful links:

Keep Pets Safe in the Heat

Keeping Rabbits Cool is Crucial in Summer Heat

Dog Friendly Decks: Natural, Dog Safe Mosquito Control

Flea and Tick Season: When to Use What Treatment

Preventing Ticks in Your Yard

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