Pacific Northwest Pests Your Pet Should Avoid
Unfortunately, pets will not think on their own to steer clear of pests until it’s possibly too late. Especially if your pet is left outdoors, they are susceptible to coming into contact with any variety of pests where the outdoors is their everyday habitat. Spraying around your home to minimize certain pests will help your pets stay clear of these unwanted guests. Here are some common pests in the Pacific Northwest that your pet should avoid where possible.
- Stinging And Biting Insects
The most prevalent of all ticks within the Pacific Northwest region is the Western Black Legged Tick, or lxodes pacificus. This tick is notorious for spreading what is widely known as Lyme Disease. Hiding in tall grasses and forested areas, these ticks will cling to anything that steps through its habitat although you don’t have to go to a forest to find them. Many ticks can be found around playgrounds, parks and even your own backyard. If one is bitten by a tick a bullseye looking rash can emerge but other symptoms may appear up to weeks later that mimic flu like symptoms. If this is the case, you’ll want to contact your healthcare provider.
Ticks are blood feeding parasites and they can transmit all kinds of diseases to both you and your pet. While some ticks hide in grass and brush until their prey walks through, others live on rodents or within their nests waiting to venture out at night to find somewhere else to feed. They burrow their mouthparts into their host and can feed anywhere from several minutes to days at a time. Treating your pets with tick repellent prior to finding ticks is helpful in keeping these pests at bay but if you do find them on your pets they will need to be treated until all the ticks have been removed. Keeping your yard trimmed and checking your pets daily is a helpful preventive method in keeping ticks from becoming a problem for your pets. If ticks do cling to your pets they are likely to be found around the eyes, in between the toes or in crevices around the body where they can hide.
Fleas are flightless, blood consuming parasites that live on mammals and birds and are typically more active when the weather turns warm. When it comes to your home, they typically like to live on domesticated animals where they can go unnoticed for a lengthy period of time amidst their fur coats but they are known to bite humans. Once they find a host they have no reason to go searching for another, allowing them to feed for the remainder of their life cycle which can last up to a few months.
Using preventative flea treatments on your pets will reduce their risks of getting fleas but if you suspect fleas on your pet you can check their bedding for what resembles flakes of black or brown dirt. This matter is known as ‘flea dirt’ but it is actually their waste. It’s more common to find this within your pets bedding or fur coat than it is to see actual fleas yet because pets can roam outdoors and pick up actual dirt, one test to determine if you’re actually finding ‘flea dirt’ is to shake some off from their fur on a damp, white piece of paper. If the dirt turns a reddish color then you can be certain it is from fleas as the reddish hue is a sign of the blood they have ingested from feeding on your pet.
When it comes to cockroaches you won’t have to worry about these pests looking to your pet as a host to feed from but you do need to think about your pets food as cockroaches are always scavenging for a food source. Though they will scatter upon any interruption, if they are using your pets food dish as a food source it’s possible they can transmit bacteria to your pet. Roaches are bacteria carriers, carrying everything from salmonella, clostridium, streptococcus, coliform to staphylococcus. If your pet happens to eat after a roach or a roach itself, it’s possible they can be exposed, making them sick.
It may seem as if mosquitoes are not a bother to pets being that they have fur to protect them but they are actually still susceptible to being bitten making these pests not only a nuisance but a danger since they can transmit heartworm to your dogs. Heartworm is a parasitic disease that can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, blocking the blood flow and possibly causing kidney or heart failure. These parasitic worms can grow up to a foot long making them a great concern for your pets.
Spraying around your yard for mosquitoes is a good place to start when thinking of protecting your pets during the spring and summer months when these pests are most prevalent. Making sure that you don’t have standing water which breeds these pests is another step in preventing mosquitoes from being a problem around your home.
These pests happen to be a ‘no brainer’ when it comes to your pets avoiding them. Raccoons are commonly known for being aggressive. Especially if it’s a mama carrying her young. Even humans need to be cautious around raccoons as they can be unpredictable in their nature. Oftentimes, raccoons come around in search of a food source. If food is left outside for them to find, they will find it! Normally this doesn’t become a major issue unless the garbage is never attended to but since pets are sometimes left outside, a run in with a raccoon can quickly go south. Keeping your yard free from anything that would attract these pests during the night is always a helpful way to protect your pets. Bigger dogs may be able to scare off a raccoon but smaller dogs and cats can be an uneven match.
Stinging And Biting Insects
Typically speaking, stinging insects are not a bother to pets but if your dog happens to put its nose down a hole sniffing around or your cat happens to disturb a bees nest then you have a problem on your hands. Not only can insects like bees, wasps, spiders and ants bite and sting your pet, they can also cause allergic reactions similar to those humans experience. Fire ants are highly aggressive and will defend their territory quickly upon sensing an invader. Some wasps build their nests in the ground and when disturbed will sting anything nearby with both of these insects defending their nests in large numbers. Bees are no different.
Spraying around your yard and home will decrease the numbers of these pests living close enough to be a problem. If your pet has land to roam around freely, it’s still a good idea to spray around common areas they like to roam. Not only will being stung or bitten be an irritant to your pet but some pets are known to have allergic reactions which can be much worse than just a bite or sting.
Depending on the activity level of your pet and where they are able to roam, will these pests be something for you to think about. An indoor only pet is less likely to encounter these pests but even indoor pets are allowed outside for a period of time even if it’s just to go to the bathroom. Being mindful of who and what is around your home will help in protecting your pet from any nuisance or harm.