For anyone who has pets, we know what an important part of your family they are! For most people who own pets, they’re an extension of our family. Although Texas is a great place to live because of our warm weather and bustling cities, there is one thing we can all agree on that plain old sucks: pests.
Because of our warm climate and heavy rainfall, pests are a year-round threat to homeowners in Texas. If you’ve noticed the following pests around your home or yard, your pets could be at risk. Let’s talk about the ones you should keep an eye out for if you have furry friends!
Harmful Pests #1: Fleas
One of the most common pests that can harm your cats and dogs are fleas. These pesky insects can latch onto your pet as their host, spreading them to other animals, inside your home for months at a time. Since these bugs are so small, they can be extremely hard to spot - especially if your pet has dark fur. Keep an eye out for small black bugs that jump out of sight almost as quickly as they appear. So why can fleas be dangerous?
- Your pet could suffer from flea bite dermatitis, a specific allergy to flea saliva that can cause excessive itching and scratching, which can lead to scabs and infections.
- Your pet could also suffer from flea bite anemia, which is when fleas feed so much that they can decrease your pet’s red blood cell count. This is more common for younger animals like kittens and puppies.
- Your pet could ingest tapeworms, which are parasites that are passed on when the animal actually ingests the flea. Tapeworms can cause weight loss and an irritated back side.
How to Prevent Fleas
So now that we know why fleas can be dangerous, let’s talk about how you can prevent them. Once fleas attach themselves to your pet, they multiply very quickly. The most important step of protection is to treat your pet with preventative care such as flea collars or oral treatments. This can help deter fleas from even landing on your pet to begin with. You can also treat your yard for fleas so that they don’t even have the opportunity to be around your animals or children!
Harmful Pests #2: Ticks
While fleas are more annoying than anything, ticks can actually be dangerous. In the same way that ticks can spread diseases to humans, they can also infect your pet. However, since pets aren’t able to communicate in the same way, symptoms or irritations can often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Some of the most common symptoms of a tick bite on animals include:
- Red and inflamed skin
- Itching and inflammation
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and change in mood
These dangerous insects can also carry and transmit blood-borne diseases such as:
- Tick paralysis
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
How to Prevent Ticks
Similarly to fleas, your best bet to avoid tick-borne illnesses is to prevent them altogether. If you live in heavily wooded areas, be sure to perform regular checks of your dog to make sure one hasn’t attached itself to your pet. If you do find one, it should be immediately and carefully removed, ideally by a trained veterinarian. Regular inspections and quick removal will help limit the damage caused by ticks, but to truly prevent them, put your pet on a preventative treatment and have your yard regularly maintained with tick repellent treatments.
Harmful Pests #3: Snakes
For any outdoor pets, snakes can be a huge danger. While poisonous breeds present obvious problems, bites from non-venomous snakes can traumatize pets, leading to increased aggression and behavioral problems.
How to Prevent Snakes
Texas is known to commonly have 4 types of venomous snakes: the coral snake, copperhead, rattlesnake, and cottonmouth (also known as the water moccasin). While all snakes should be handled by a professional, if you suspect any of these are on your property, contact us immediately for safe removal or extermination.
Harmful Pests #4: Rodents
Rodents come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them can be extremely unsanitary! Not only are rodents attracted to your food, but they can also get into your pet’s food supply, passing dangerous diseases that can make both you and your pet sick. These include:
- Leptospirosis: a bacterial disease transmitted through infected water.
- Salmonellosis: food or water that is contaminated by rat feces.
- Colorado Tick Fever: a viral disease that is transmitted by the bite of a tick that has fed on a rat.
- Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: This is a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of a sand fly that has fed on a wild rat.
How to Prevent Rodents
Like any pest, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you can prevent rodents from ever stepping foot in or around your home, you won’t have to worry about the danger of them. Here are a few easy ways to prevent rodents:
- Store all human and pet food in airtight containers.
- Eat only in designated spots like your kitchen or dining room.
- Don’t allow your pets to drag crumbs throughout the house.
- Seal cracks and holes - specifically where wires and pipes enter your home.
If you notice signs of a rodent infestation or see them in plain sight, contact a professional like EnviroCon immediately for safe elimination.
Harmful Pests #5: The Kissing Bug
Common to Texas, the kissing bug is responsible for a recent wide outbreak of the Chagas disease. Kissing bugs are nocturnal, blood-feeding insects that transmit a parasite that infects both humans and domestic animals. Texas, unfortunately, has one of the highest diversity and density of kissing bugs in the entire United States. Cases have been documented all over the state and pose a serious risk to your pets. This parasite can affect a human and animals cardiovascular health, resulting in reduced cardiac function and the inability to pump fluids throughout the body.
If you notice kissing bugs or any other pests around your home, let the experts at EnviroCon help eliminate them. We employ a team of certified entomologists that have spent years studying the behavior and biology of pests. We have the experience and the know-how to eliminate even the worst pest problems in the most minimally invasive way possible.