PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses from fleas, ticks and mosquitos have tripled in the United States over the past 13 years. Veterinarians at PetSmart, Inc., the leading pet specialty retailer in North America, are providing tips to pet parents on how to help keep pests off pets and keep them safe from these harmful illnesses.
“As we head into the summer months, and with insect-borne illnesses on the rise, it’s important to protect our pets,” said Nick Saint-Erne, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert. “Parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitos are problematic for dogs and cats as they spread diseases between animals, including heartworm. The best way to keep pets safe is to prevent infestation and mosquito bites from occurring in the first place.”
Take preventative steps. Flea, tick and mosquito control is an important part of keeping pets healthy and happy. Year-round treatment is ideal, and there are a variety of products that offer protection. Select a product that treats all infestation issues and prevents them from reoccurring. If your pet spends time outdoors or goes swimming, be sure to use a waterproof application. Mosquitos are most active at dawn or dusk, so if you can avoid walking your dog during these hours, you can reduce the likelihood they will be bitten. While a preventative treatment is an optimal way to keep pests at bay, it can also kill any fleas that may have found their way onto your pet and repel new ones.
Use pet-formulated insect repellants. Never use human insect repellent on your pets. DEET, the active ingredient in many common bug sprays, can cause seizures, vomiting and irritation in dogs and cats. Likewise, if you are treating a cat for flea or tick prevention, ensure the repellant is specifically formulated for felines. “Do not use products on pets younger than the ages specified on the product instructions, nor on pets that are not specifically listed on the label,” Saint-Erne said.
Look for clues that fleas or ticks have found their way onto your pet. “Flea dirt,” small, curly black droppings, can be found in the fur even when the fleas are not seen. To confirm if debris in a dog’s fur is flea droppings, Saint-Erne recommends placing it on a white paper towel and adding a drop of water to it. If it turns red, your pet may have fleas. Ticks attach to the skin for feeding, but can be found crawling on the fur when they first settle onto pets. Conduct a quick spot check on pets following walks or time spent outdoors by parting the fur with your hands to check the skin or by using a comb to brush through the fur.
Remove stagnant water around your home. Mosquitos need water to live and prefer to lay their eggs in stagnant water. Eliminate their breeding grounds by ensuring the area surrounding your home is free from standing water under bushes and behind structures like tool sheds and air conditioners, or in old tires or flower pots.
Treat the issue promptly. If you find fleas or ticks on your pet, there are several ways to get rid of an infestation:
- Bathe your dog using a specially formulated flea and tick shampoo that is designed to kill parasites. The shampoo begins to work after your dog is out of the bath.
- Take your pet to the groomer and let them administer the treatment for you.
- Clean the house. Thoroughly vacuum your home and launder your dog’s bedding, blankets and soft toys in hot water. A carpet powder or fogger can also effectively treat the home.
- Use an on-premise insecticide listed as safe for use around pets for the house and the yard to prevent reinfestation.
For additional tips and resources on how to keep pests off your pets, including a full assortment of product solutions, visit PetSmart’s Learning Center or speak with an in-store PetSmart associate.
PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. PetSmart employs approximately 55,000 associates and operates more than 1,600 pet stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding, PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption. PetSmart, PetSmart Charities® and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with more than 3,500 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 8 million adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization. In May 2017, PetSmart acquired Chewy.com, a leading online retailer of pet food and products in the U.S., which operates as an independent subsidiary.
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