If a pet is a part of your family, then you know how important it is to treat for parasites and pests as well as fortify your home against invaders.
When your pet suffers from a parasitic infection, you might think the best solution is to quickly apply the strongest, fastest treatment as a cure. Unfortunately, applying these strong chemicals on your pet’s body can cause their accidental poisoning.
Then there are those who believe their pets good health will shield pests and parasites. A healthy pet may have a stronger immune system, but if your pet likes to be outside you should take extra steps to protect them.
Here are ten common mistakes you should avoid when thinking about protecting your pets against pests:
#10 Don’t Treat Your Pet with Human Pest Repellant
If mosquitoes and heartworms are a concern, you might try to protect your pet by spraying them down with your mosquito repellant. But many insect sprays made for people contain DEET, a harmful chemical substance that can cause neurological damage and even poison your pet. Citronella is another substance that can cause respiratory and irritation problems if your pet accidentally breathes in the fumes, or if it is absorbed through their skin. Consult your veterinarian to get pet-specific mosquito and heartworm medication.
#9 Don’t Leave Your Pet Defenseless by Not Treating Them At All
The best way to safeguard your pet is to consistently keep them treated against parasitic infections. If you keep up on your pet’s grooming, vaccinations, and medications to combat flea, tick and other health dangers you won’t have to scramble for a potentially dangerous last-minute cure.
#8 Don’t Over- or Under-Treat Your Pet
If you discover your pets have fleas or ticks, one of the best methods to quickly eradicate them is to treat the infestation with a spot-on remedy. While this is a very effective treatment, the danger in using spot-ons to cure your pets is using the wrong dosage. The idea of "the stronger the dose, the better the cure" is not only wrong, it is dangerous for your pets. Doses are measured by weight and species, and if you treat your seven-pound cat with a dose meant for felines 10 pounds and heavier, you could poison or even kill your pet.
On the other hand, you may have gotten a spot-on pest remedy and decide to divide the dose to make it last longer. Doing this poses a danger to your pets as well because it won’t cure your pet. Instead, it may weaken their immune system and make them even more susceptible to the parasites.
#7 Don’t Give Your Pets Human Medicines Without Prior Veterinary Approval
As was mentioned earlier, health products designed for people can harm and in some cases prove fatally toxic to pets. If your pet is suffering from skin irritation, for example, you may be tempted to apply calamine lotion to soothe it, or give them diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl®). But remember, pets (especially cats) lick their fur, and could accidentally ingest a fatal toxin.
#6 Don’t Mistake "Indoor" for "Safe"
If you have a pet that mostly stays indoors, you may not have to worry as much about a heartworm disease-carrying mosquito bite or ticks. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore the possibility altogether, especially if your pet starts to show signs of infestation, such as chronic scratching or biting. After all, even though fleas don’t stay on humans, they can still hitch a ride. Once these pests are inside your home, they are very difficult to get rid of.