keeping pets away from bugs.

One of the trade-offs to the warm weather is, of course, insects. Whether they’re buzzing or crawling around, lying in wait, or simply minding their own business, bugs of all kinds can present serious problems for pets. Painful bites can lead to swelling and itching, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Poisonous stings and even life-threatening bacteria, viruses, or parasites should be prevented. But how do you keep pets and bugs apart?

Keep It Safe

There’s no question that pet owners have a lot to do to uphold summer pet safety. Between managing your pet’s exposure to harmful plants and flowers and reducing their chances of heat stroke, there’s a lot going on. 

Equally important is tending to a pet’s ongoing parasite prevention. While this added layer of protection guards against transmittable illnesses like heartworm or Lyme diseases, medication doesn’t necessarily keep pets and bugs from each other.

Narrowing the Gap

The following bugs are the most common nuisances during the spring and summer months:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Flies
  • Spiders
  • Ants
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Hornets

Pets are less frequently bothered by caterpillars, moths, ladybugs, dragonflies, butterflies, crickets, praying mantises, and stink bugs, but it’s not a good idea to allow them to play with or eat them.

Pets and Bugs

With so many potential bugs out there for your pet to chase, swat, and sample, it’s a good idea to know the signs that they’ve been bitten or stung. You might not know what type of bug they encountered, but you’ll likely see the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Pain
  • Hives
  • Puncture wound (with or without an embedded stinger)

Depending on the bug and the severity of the bite/sting, your pet may develop an allergic reaction with these alarming signs:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Weakness
  • Trembling
  • Hypersalivation
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Muscle cramping or pain to the touch
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Seizure

It is critical to seek emergency veterinary assistance to reduce allergic responses. Please call us at (732) 531‑1212 so we can prepare for your pet’s arrival. Even if your pet is not known to be allergic to a bee, if they are strung multiple times, it’s advised to seek treatment just in case.

Tick removal can be risky. Similarly, squeezing out a stinger has its own set of challenges, especially if your dog was stung in the mouth. In a pinch, treat the area with a mixture of water and baking soda and wrap an ice pack in a towel to apply to the swollen area. Benadryl is also typically safe for pets when dosage is proper : 1mg per pound is the recommendation. Benadryl typically comes in 25mg tablets so a 50lb dog would get 2 tablets while a 10lb dog would need that tablet split. For small dogs, children’s tablets are often 12.5mg and can be easier to split up for dosage. Please contact your local veterinarian in case they have other recommendations. 

Reduce the Risk

Your pet’s parasite prevention medication will reduce infestations of fleas and problems connected to ticks and mosquitoes (and more). To reduce run-ins between pets and bugs, eliminate places in the yard that attract pests. Apply a pet-safe insecticide, remove hornet and wasp nests before they get out of hand, and place traps for them.

Be sure to restock your pet first aid kit and read up on tick removal. As always, if you have questions or concerns, our team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital can be reached at (732) 531‑1212