Just as mosquitoes bite humans, they can also bite dogs. These pests can live all year longand can reproduce quickly, emerging even during short periods of warm, moist weather. Here’s what you should know about your dog and mosquitoes — and how to help prevent mosquitoes.
Can Mosquito Bites Harm Your Dog?
Mosquitoes aren’t just an annoying nuisance; they can also irritate your dog’s skin and even lead to heartworm disease.
Mosquito bites on dogs can be highly irritating. When dogs scratch at the itchy bites, they can damage their skin, leading to irritation, pain and even bacterial infection. Some dogs can actually suffer from allergic reactions to their bites, resulting in swelling or hives.
Heartworm has a direct connection to mosquitoes. When mosquitoes bite, they can pass heartworms to your dog, infecting your pet’s heart and lungs. Thankfully, not all mosquitoes carry heartworms, but all it takes is one bite from the wrong mosquito for your dog to become infected.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away from Your Dog
Luckily, there are several ways you can help protect your dog from mosquitoes.
1. Repel Mosquitoes on Your Dog
Speak to your vet about choosing a dog-friendly mosquito repellent. Some repellents come in spray form and must be applied to your dog before every outing (and reapplied every few hours), while other convenient options include monthly spot-on treatments.
Never use a mosquito repellent meant for humans — many contain ingredients that are safe for people but extremely dangerous for pets.
2. Avoid Being Outside When Mosquitoes Are Most Active
While you may enjoy a morning or evening walk with your dog, you should avoid walking near still or stagnant water at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. This will help prevent your dog — and you — from receiving excessive bites.
3. Repel Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Discourage mosquitoes from buzzing into your garden by treating your yard with a spray or adding natural mosquito deterrents like citronella candles. In addition, be on the lookout for stagnant water in your yard: Dog bowls, empty flower pots, bird baths, ponds, kiddie pools and improperly drained yards can all attract mosquitoes.
4. Check the Entrances to Your Home
Don’t make it easy for mosquitoes to enter your house. Check the screens on windows and doors for tears, and repair or replace as necessary.
5. Prevent Heartworm with Regular Medication
While these preventive measurements can reduce your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes, it’s nearly impossible to prevent mosquito bites entirely. That’s why giving your dog regular heartworm medication is vital to their health and safety. Consult your vet for their recommendations to protect your pet from a potentially dangerous bite.