Forget the ease into Spring because the hot summer days are already here! And with these blistering days comes those dreaded mosquitoes. Dear pet parents, you're not the only one that mosquitoes might view as a tasty treat during the summer months.
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Do Mosquitos Bite Dogs?
Unfortunately, yes, having fur won't save your doggies when it comes to your friendly neighbourhood blood-sucking bug. However, the big difference between you and your dog in getting mosquito bites is you're more likely to notice them. For whatever reason, many dogs don't seem as bothered. They're not thinking about how these insects are sucking their blood and potentially leaving behind disease and ugly, raised red bumps.
Your dog's fur isn't much of a deterrent either. A mosquito's proboscis (the pointy, blood-sucking part) can go right past a thick layer of fur. A mosquito may choose to go for more vulnerable parts of a dog, like the ears, nose, mouth, and belly, but bites can happen almost anywhere on a dog.
Signs Your Dog Has Been Bitten
Because a mosquito can bite past your dog's fur, you may never see evidence of a bite. Some can get tons of bites and have no reaction, however other dogs get itchy and may develop rashes or redness. Some dogs, just like people, can have a more extreme reaction to mosquito bites which affects their immune system.
(go on...I'm listening)
Why Keeping Mosquitoes Off Your Dog Is Important
Bites are annoying, but the big problem is disease that mosquitoes carry: Malaria, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, and Rift Valley fever, to name a few. But...the biggest threat for dogs? Heartworms.
Heartworm disease in your dog is impossible to see at first, as a tiny egg left behind from a mosquito bite grows into a worm that slowly travels through your dog to reach the pulmonary arteries between the heart and lungs. Eventually, heartworms grow large enough to make it difficult for your dog to breathe and for your dog's heart to pump enough to stay alive. Even though there is a treatment for Heartworm disease, prevention is safer for your pup’s health.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Off Your Dog
Here are some ways to keep your yard and dog mosquito-free year-round:
Get rid of standing water.
Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. Look for collected water in your yard and get rid of it. If your dog is prone to getting bit and reacting badly, steer clear of watery spots on your hikes.
Consider placing a fan close to where your pup sits. Mosquitoes are terrible flyers, and the fan can help to blow them away. Sounds funny, but it works.
Talk to your veterinarian about a pet-safe mosquito repellent.
Dogs react differently to chemicals than people, so it's always good to go for a pet-specific product.
Use year-round heartworm preventive.
Remember, the worst part of mosquitoes for most pets is the risk of contracting heartworm disease. (That goes for cats too.) Talk to your veterinarian about a heartworm preventive medicine that fits your lifestyle.
(high five for reading all the way through)
Mosquitoes may seem terrible, and they can be. However, we should not get angry at these blood-suckers. They provide an important role in nature, pollinating plants (like bees) and getting eaten by the birds you love around your yard.