What’s the big deal about mosquitoes?

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For such tiny insects, mosquitoes can be a big threat to your dog. In fact, mosquitoes can transmit a number of serious diseases, including heartworm.

Find out the best ways to avoid mosquitoes and reduce the risk of their potentially deadly bite!

What are mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are small parasites that can be a nuisance to animals and humans alike. Beyond the nuisance factor, mosquitoes can carry a considerable number of diseases, including malaria, yellow fever, Zika and West Nile virus. In Canada, heartworm is a deadly disease for pets, that can be transmitted by mosquitoes.

Only female mosquitoes suck blood, causing itchy, painful bites! Mosquitoes can make the summer months miserable for your family and pets unless they are protected.

Mosquitoes can reproduce quickly, even emerging during short periods of warm, moist weather.

What are the symptoms of mosquito bites in dogs?

Mosquito bites can be diagnosed based on signs of itching and irritation, but heartworm infections require a test by the veterinarian.

Signs of a mosquito bite on your dog include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Constant scratching
  • Mosquito bites (bumps on your dog’s skin)
  • Skin irritation

Do mosquitoes bite dogs?

Yes, mosquitoes do bite dogs. Pet owners should be aware of mosquito activity, regardless of the season. Milder winters and earlier springs are generating the ideal environment for mosquitoes, leaving dogs even more vulnerable to mosquito bites, particularly when they are playing outdoors. Once the warm and humid days of summer hit, however, mosquitoes are here to stay.

Mosquitoes aren’t just irritating to your dog. Mosquitoes may also carry parasites they can pass to your dog, including heartworm, a potentially deadly parasite that exists in some parts of Canada. Heartworm develops inside the dog’s heart and lungs and can cause extensive damage. If you are in a heartworm endemic area, your pet will require a heartworm preventive to protect against heartworm. While K9 Advantix®II topical solution reduces biting from mosquitoes and kills mosquitoes, it is not a prevention for heartworm. Discuss appropriate options for heartworm prevention with your veterinarian.

How do I protect my dog from mosquitoes?

Summer weather brings countless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with our canine friends. The warmer weather, however, brings some hidden dangers with it as well, in the form of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes thrive in hot, humid environments but they can also breed in stagnant water in drier areas.

Ponds, pools, lakes and other sources of fresh water provide mosquitoes with a place to lay eggs and develop. After becoming adults, female mosquitoes leave the water sources and start searching for animal or human hosts to take blood meals. They use this protein to produce eggs, a process that can happen several times in one summer.

Mosquitoes are the most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours, so try to avoid walking your dog during these times. If that is not possible, consider using a product that protects against mosquitoes. Discuss the best options for your dog with your veterinarian or local pet store associate. K9 Advantix®II flea and tick treatment reduces the biting by mosquitoes and kills mosquitoes through contact, so no biting is required.

Both humans and pets benefit from reducing the mosquito population around your home. Avoid leaving stagnant water around your house and garden as this is an ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes. Even if your dog spends most of their time indoors, mosquitoes can enter the household via open windows or broken screens. Consider updating your screens and using pet-friendly mosquito repellents to reduce the presence of mosquitoes around your home.

Protect your dog with heartworm prevention. The recommended months for heartworm prevention treatment in Canada are June through November inclusively. Pet owners living in or travelling to areas where heartworm is found will need to treat their pet with a heartworm preventive. Although heartworm disease cannot be directly transmitted from one animal to another, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito for a dog to get heartworms.

A complete heartworm plan includes use of preventive medication and regular testing. Discuss the best options for your dog with your veterinarian. When it comes to mosquitoes – and heartworm - prevention is the best medicine.

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