Mosquitoes and Pets: Mosquito Pet Protection Basics
Mosquitoes and pets tend not to get along together. It is important that you take steps to protect you pets from mosquitoes this coming spring. That protection begins now because your cats, dogs, rabbits and other pets are just as susceptible to disease from mosquito bites as you are.
Mosquitoes bite to extract your blood – not to feed on, but to use as a source of protein to create their eggs. That’s why only female mosquitoes bite you. Males are quite happy feeding off the nectar they find in the plants around your yard. They have no interest in you whatsoever – unless you are swatting at them when they will fly away. It’s the females that home in on you.
They don’t care if that protein comes from cat blood, dog blood, horse blood or human blood – it’s all the same to them. Just a source of protein that enables them to reproduce. Your pets do not know how to protect themselves, and are relying on you to do it for them. Here’s how!
Mosquitoes and Pets: Mosquito Control Tips for your Pets
The major methods of protecting your pets from mosquitoes center around separation: keep your pets away from mosquitoes. Where your pets are concerned, mosquito control involves keeping them indoors (the pets!) when mosquitoes are most active: early morning and dusk. Tiddles and Bonzo should be safe during hot, sunny days, although mosquitoes can become active in warm weather with a good cloud cover.
This is particularly the case in areas where mosquitoes are swarming. You can expect this close to rivers and creeks, swamp land, marshes and stagnant ponds. This is the type of water where mosquitoes breed, and as the nymphs turn into adults, particularly in early spring, there can be swarms of these insects around their favorite breeding grounds. Keep your pets away from these areas until the swarms die down. Even then be careful – or even better, have these areas treated to control the production of new mosquitoes.
Mosquito Control in Gardens Yards and Shrubbery
Make sure that your garden or yards are clear of any containers that can hold water over the winter. If you have an old buckets or bird baths that have lain over from fall to spring, you can be pretty sure that they will contain mosquito eggs or even hatched nymphs waiting for spring.
Don’t allow this to happen – the remedy is very simple! Remove all such containers from your yard, and check that there are no old pools of standing water, that your guttering is all clean and free-flowing, and that your drains look clean and tidy. These are common places where mosquitoes breed.
Another potential issue, and often a fairly severe one, is the amount of greenery and shrubbery in your yard. Your pets like to investigate these areas and they are likely to contain colonies of mosquitoes resting over winter, but that are not afraid to attack animals if they are disturbed. A good mosquito control spray is often effective here.
Mosquitoes Do Not All Die In Winter
Mosquitoes do not all die in winter, but can hide in deep grass and under the leaves of shrubbery and trees around your home. Come spring they will attack you and your pets in their desperate hunt for blood. A small point here that many pet owners overlook: if you usually feed your animals outdoors in summer and fall, you may leave the bowls outside over winter.
These are common breeding areas for mosquitoes, so clean them out, or even better – take them indoors. All it takes is a few days: a dog bowl left out for 5 days in a warm climate can produce hundreds of biting mosquitoes.
Use a Non-Toxic Mosquito Spray
If you decide to use insecticide, usually in the form of a mosquito spray, make sure that it is not based on DEET. This substance can be dangerous to small animals. In fact, many are still unsure as to its safety for humans, so use a natural insecticide such as citronella, or picaridin which is deemed safer than DEET. You vet should be able to give you advice on the insecticide to use to protect your pets from mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes and pets do not mix well, and it is wise to take particular care with your dog or cat, or even your horse in warm weather when the insects are active. Check your yard and garden, and the area around your home for potential mosquito breeding areas.
Also check your kitchen, basement and garage because these can be very attractive areas of your home for mosquitoes over the winter. If you take proper care, then your pets should be as safe from mosquitoes as you are.