Mosquito bites in dogs are as dangerous as the bites of fleas, ticks, or mites. Although mosquitoes may seem to be less harmful than fleas and ticks, they may end up causing devastating health consequences. There are more than 175 species of mosquitoes in the U.S. that are responsible for potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases. Learn more about these bloodsucking parasites to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Are Mosquito Bites Harmful to Dogs?
Mosquitoes don’t just cause a nuisance to you and your furry friend; they also irritate your dog’s skin and cause other potentially fatal health problems such skin infections, allergies, and heartworm infestations.
Mosquito bites cause irritation and itching on the dog’s skin. They may also cause redness and pain, making the skin susceptible to painful bacterial infections.
Sometimes, mosquito bites may also lead to allergic reactions, resulting in irritated and inflamed skin, swelling, or hives. This may end up in obsessive licking and scratching.
Mosquitoes are the carriers of the deadly heartworm disease in dogs. They transmit heartworm larvae into the dog’s system, which are fatal once they matured.
When Are Mosquitoes Most Prevalent?
Temperature is the key factor in the regulation of the mosquito lifecycle. Mosquitoes are most active during hot weather, and they die off or hibernate when the temperature drops. This means the U.S. faces a mosquito season from May to August when the temperatures rise.
However, although mosquitoes thrive during the hot summer months, they can survive year-round, and hence, they pose a continuous threat to your dog. Mosquitoes require stagnant water to breed, so you may observe mosquito swarms more around puddles, lakes, bird baths, or any containers with collected water.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has identified the top cities in the U.S. with the prevalence of heartworm-transmitting mosquitoes, which include:
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Alexandria, Virginia
- Riverside, California
- Topeka, Kansas
- Paterson, New Jersey
- Chesapeake, Virginia
- El Paso, Texas
- Reno, Nevada
- Modesto, California
- Boise, Idaho
Since mosquitoes cause life-threatening heartworm disease in dogs, it is essential to keep your dog active on mosquito prevention treatments as well. Generally, well-known flea and tick treatments like K9Advantix, Vectra 3D, and Scalibor Collar cover mosquitoes too, but it is always a good idea to ensure so by reading the package label carefully.
How to Protect Your Dog from Mosquitoes?
1. Repel Mosquitoes on Your Dog
Choose a reliable mosquito repellent product to deter mosquitoes. Mosquito repellents for dogs come in the form of topical sprays or monthly spot-on treatments. You can also try natural ways to repel mosquitoes on dogs along with conventional treatments. However, always remember that human mosquito repellents cannot be used on dogs and are extremely dangerous.
2. Repel Mosquitoes in Your Yard/Home
Even if you use a mosquito repellent treatment, it is essential to fend them off from your home, garden, and backyard. You can do so by using insect repellent sprays, coils, bug zappers, etc. Discarding unnecessary water-collecting objects such as vases, flower pots, bird baths, etc. may also aid in your efforts to keep the nasty mosquitoes away from your backyard.
3. Protect your Dog from Heartworms
While prevention can lessen your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes, it is essentially impossible to completely eliminate mosquito bites. Therefore, keeping your dog on a regular heartworm prevention treatment is highly essential for both their health and safety because of this. Ask your veterinarian for advice on how to keep your pet safe from possibly harmful bites.
More Tips for Mosquito Control & Prevention
Following these simple steps help prevent the invasion of mosquitoes onto your property and helps protect you and your dog from the illnesses caused by them.
- Avoid walking your dog during dawn and dusk, as mosquitoes are most active during this time.
- A bug repellent shirt for dogs can do a two-in-one job: putting mosquitoes away while giving them a stylish look.
- Take steps to make your home less inviting by mosquito-proofing your house before the mosquito season begins.
- Clean clogged gutters and drainage systems every once in a while, as the dirty standing water facilitates mosquito breeding.
- Check the lids and inlets of water tanks and seal them tightly.
- Use fly screens on windows and doors to block the entrance of mosquitoes and repair broken windows if any.
- Use mosquito coils, plug-in vaporizers, and diffusers to keep mosquitoes out of your verandah and backyard.
- Plant mosquito repellent garden which may include basil, catnip, lemon balm, rosemary, etc.
- Avoid plants like germanium, peppermint, citronella, etc. as they are great mosquito repellents but are toxic for dogs.
7 Fascinating Facts about Mosquitoes You Might Want to Know
Now that we have discussed the risks and prevention of pesky mosquitoes, these interesting facts might help you know your enemy better.
1. Mosquitoes Are Deadly.
Mosquitoes cause major diseases like heartworm disease. If left untreated, heartworms cause may lead to organ damage and blockage in the heart.
2. Mosquitoes are Attracted to our Breath
Mosquitoes seek out carbon dioxide that we exhale while breathing. This is the reason we often find mosquitoes swarming over our heads.
3. Adult Mosquitoes can Live up to 6 Months
Generally, bugs don’t live a life longer than up to a few months, but mosquitoes can survive for up to 6 months.
4. Mosquitoes Eat Plant Juices
Your beautiful garden might not only look attractive to your guests but to mosquitoes too. Be vigilant if you have flowers in your garden, as mosquitoes feed on sugary nectar for energy.
5. Only Female Mosquitoes Bite
Interesting, right? Only female mosquitoes feed on blood while male mosquitoes are strict vegetarians. They survive on nectar and plant juices.
6. Mosquitoes Have a Big Appetite
Some female mosquitoes are known to fill themselves up with the quantity of blood equal to their body weight. Phew!
7. Mosquito Saliva Causes Itching
The saliva of a female mosquito acts as an anticoagulant for preventing blood clotting. The host’s immune system produces an allergic response against the saliva and hence resulting in an itchy bump.