We may think that our beloved pets, especially cats and dogs, are safe from mosquito bites, but the reality is different.
Even if these animals have thick fur, mosquitoes still can bite them in areas that aren’t covered by hair. This includes their nose, ears, stomach, and other areas.
Like you, your cat or dog will also find mosquito bites very itchy. The bitten area may swell and become infected if not treated correctly. This is why, in this article, we’ve gathered tips on how to protect your pets from mosquito bites and how to treat mosquito bites on pets.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites
In general, mosquito bites aren’t harmful to animals. Our pets do get the same itching feeling as humans and the bitten area can also become infected if the animal keeps scratching the skin in that area. For that reason, it’s important to properly treat these areas, especially if you see that your pet won’t stop scratching and the swelling increases.
Problems with mosquito bites arise in those areas where mosquitoes carry heartworm disease. This can be deadly to dogs, cats, and other animals.
On pets, the area with a mosquito bite usually becomes red and swells. The inflammatory response and itching can last for a few hours. Normally, a pet will react by scratching, licking, and chewing the bitten area to relieve the itch. This is the same reaction that humans have when we scratch our mosquito bites.
Although mosquito bites aren’t dangerous to pets, you should pay attention to make sure the bitten area doesn’t start to swell more. If this happens or if the animal starts to act strange, it could be a sign that the bite might not be from a mosquito, but rather from a more dangerous insect such as a wasp or spider. In that case, you should take your pet to the vet, so they can examine the bite and treat it with the proper medication.
There are many ways you can relieve the itching and keep the bitten area from becoming infected.
Some of these remedies include medications against infections that you can get from a vet like antibacterial creams. But there are also many natural remedies that you can find in your home, which you can use to treat your pet’s mosquito bites.
Aloe vera is one of the most common natural mosquito remedies that also works as a mosquito repellent. It’s used to treat mosquito bites on humans and pets. This natural mosquito remedy will soothe the skin while also cooling down the bite.
You can use aloe vera for mosquito bites as well as for stings from larger insects like bees and wasps. You can use the juice from the plant and apply it directly to the bitten area or purchase an aloe vera lotion that is pet safe.
This is a simple solution you can make at home, which involves baking soda and water. Simply make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and apply that paste to the bitten area a few times a day.
This natural remedy will help reduce the swelling much more quickly.
As with baking soda, you can mix oatmeal and water to create a paste that can be applied to the swollen area. This mixture will also relieve the itch and stop your pet from scratching the bitten area.
Another simple remedy, which also works on humans, is to put an ice pack on the swollen area. This will ease the pain and the swelling of the skin.
There are also antibacterial creams made specifically for dogs or cats that you can use. These will sanitize the bite and prevent it from becoming infected.
You can find these creams in veterinary clinics, where these professionals can help you choose the right medication for your specific situation. These creams also help reduce the itching, which will also reduce the risk of your pet scratching the bite and infecting it.
For dogs, you can get a hydrocortisone cream or spray to ease the irritation. You need to apply these to the swollen skin a few times a day. Some antihistamines can help control intense itching and irritation, which are especially useful for certain insect bites.
You must always consult your vet before giving any medication to your pet, though. There are important restrictions about minimum weight, dosage, and possible allergies your pet could have to certain medications that you must know before giving any such medication to your pet.
Remember, if the swelling doesn’t go down after a few days or gets worse, you need to take your pet to the vet for further treatment.
How to Protect Your Pet From Mosquito Bites
There are many ways to protect your pet from mosquito bites. These include mosquito control methods that will reduce the mosquito population in your area, using pet-safe mosquito repellents and more general tips such as keeping your pet inside when mosquitoes are at their most active.
General Protection Tips
Keep your pet indoors in the evening and in the morning
The first thing that all pet owners should do is keep their pets inside when mosquitoes are the most active. This mostly happens in the evenings around dusk and in the early morning.
The majority of mosquito species aren’t active during the day, especially in sunny areas. They become much more active when it gets darker and when the wind has slowed down, which mostly happens in the early mornings.
Don’t walk your pet near areas where mosquitoes are active
This is a pretty obvious way to protect your pet from mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes live in warm, humid areas with standing water. This includes ponds, large puddles, swamps, and so on. So, avoid walking your pet near these areas, because there’s a good chance that there will be a lot of mosquitoes nearby.
Use heartworm prevention medication if you live in a high-risk area
Heartworm is very dangerous for pets, especially for dogs. This disease causes a lot of problems in infected dogs.
If you live in an area in which your pet is at high risk of getting heartworm, you should talk with your vet and put your dog on heartworm prevention medication. This usually comes in the form of a monthly pill or a vaccine that will provide a few months of protection from heartworm disease.
Mosquito Control: Actions You Can Take
Mosquito control is one of the best ways to protect your pet from mosquito bites. There are a few ways you can reduce the mosquito population around your house and in your yard. Start with simple actions like removing any sources of standing water. There are also more expensive options such as mosquito foggers and traps.
Eliminate any sources of standing water
The first step in any successful mosquito control plan is to get rid of places where mosquitoes live and reproduce. This includes any sources that have had standing water for more than a few days.
Female mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water. So to continue the species, a female mosquito needs to find a source of standing water. This generally isn’t difficult at all because there are a lot of natural and artificial areas that collect and store rainwater, which are perfect places for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
To eliminate the mosquito population around your house, you need to get rid of any objects that might collect rainwater. These objects can include metal cans, bowls, old tires, plastic containers, clogged rain gutters, old pools filled with water, or pools without chlorinated water. Look for natural sources of standing water like smaller ponds, large puddles, swamps, and swampy lawns. Watch out for holes in trees that can collect rainwater since this is a great place for mosquitoes to live.
It’s important to check all these areas after it rains to see if they have collected any rainwater that mosquitoes could then use to reproduce. This is a simple tip that should reduce the mosquito population in your yard and make your time outdoors more pleasant.
Regularly change your pet’s water bowls
This tip is useful for those whose pets spend their time outdoors during the day. Remember to regularly change the water in their water bowls. You should change the water in the bowl at least once a day to be completely sure that no mosquitoes have laid their eggs in the bowl.
Put on screens on your doors and windows
This is a useful tip for those that keep their pets indoors most of the time and for those that live in apartments. Put special screens on your doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from coming indoors. This will protect both you and your pet from mosquito bites.
Additional Mosquito Control Methods to Use
You can use a mosquito fogger to kill mosquitoes outdoors. It can even help reduce their population to a minimum after repeated use. A mosquito fogger is a tool that sprays special insecticides that kills mosquitoes on contact. Most insecticides contain chemicals, so you have to use them with care, especially if you have a pet.
Always read the instructions for both the fogger and the insecticide before using them. Make sure that your pet isn’t around when you’re fogging and keep them from entering the treated area for about 30 minutes after fogging. The specific wait time for each insecticide should be indicated on the instructions for that product. This will give the chemicals time to evaporate into the air, making it safe for you and your pets to re-enter the area.
After using a mosquito fogger, you’ll have a couple of hours of mosquito-free time outdoors. Unlike other mosquito control methods like insect repellents, which are only a short-term solution to your mosquito problem, foggers can have a great impact on the mosquito population.
Fogging a few times a week for a couple of months will greatly reduce the adult mosquito count. This means there won’t be as many female mosquitoes to lay eggs, thus reducing the overall mosquito population over time. For even better results, you can use mosquito control products that combat adult mosquitoes as well as larvicides to combat any developing mosquitoes.
A mosquito trap is another device that can help reduce the mosquito population, providing a mosquito-free yard for you and your pet. Mosquito traps use different methods to lure, trap, and kill mosquitoes. They do this by imitating human breathing through carbon dioxide and luring them with octenol, ultraviolet light, and heat.
Many factors impact the success rate of mosquito traps, including:
- the climate and weather conditions in the area;
- the overall size of the mosquito population; and
- what mosquito species live in the area.
A high-quality mosquito trap will cost you a couple of hundred dollars to purchase. It will also cost more each month for any electricity it uses and the price of replacing any propane tanks.
Mosquito Repellents for Pets
Another way you can protect your pet from mosquito bites is with a mosquito repellent. For humans, mosquito repellents with chemicals such as DEET and picaridin are the most effective. You can’t use these substances on animals, though.
DEET and other chemical repellents that work for humans must not be used on animals. These repellents contain substances that can be very dangerous or toxic for cats and dogs. Be very careful when using natural mosquito repellents on your pets. Different breeds of cat and dog can be allergic or sensitive to certain oils and an allergic reaction can be dangerous to your pet’s health.
Before using any repellent on your cat or dog, make sure that you talk to your vet. They will be able to tell you which substances are safe to use on your particular pet. Some of the more common mosquito repellents for dogs include Frontline and K9 Advantix products, citronella oil, lemon juice, neem oil, geranium oil, soybean oil, and eucalyptus oil.