Summer. The days are longer, warmer, and definitely more humid than not in Northwest Indiana. How do you and your pet(s) spend your summer? For some, staying cool in the pool (or air conditioning) is key. For others, heading to the beach or favorite vacation spot is the goal. It’s important to be safe and have fun with whatever activity you choose, so let’s add bugs to your safety checklist.

Bugs of summer; the warm weather brings with it bugs. Some are pretty great. Lightning bugs, for example, are an icon of summer here in Indiana. Is your pet entertained by the random glows out the window or in the yard? My cat, Clark, is quick to snatch them out of the air when he is being walked on his harness in our yard. His limit is 3 bugs and we must go in, haha.

Flies and gnats are a nuisance and can be awful when you are trying to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re lucky, you have a cat or dog that is quick to catch these sky raisins as soon as they get into the house. Or maybe you have a pet that is content to just watch the fly zoom around as entertainment?

Bees and wasps are great pollinators for our environment, but not so much when our pets decide they need to pounce on them or catch them out of the sky. We call them “spicy” bugs at our house and are careful to watch for them being too close, since the Labrador and the cat will try to catch them. The stings from these bugs hurt something fierce, and our pets feel the same sting. Sometimes they can also develop a reaction to the sting and develop swelling or hives. If this occurs, please contact us immediately or the emergency clinic after hours to help stop the reaction.

Mosquitoes are also out and about in force during the summer. Mosquitoes are great at ruining a perfect evening, and can make you want to sit in the campfire smoke. Besides annoying bites to us and our pets, they also spread heartworm disease to our beloved dogs and cats. Yes, cats can also become infected with heartworm disease, but it affects them differently than dogs (only a handful of heartworms can kill a cat) and there is NO cure. If you have a cat, they are at risk for heartworm disease (we all have had that mosquito that has ended up in the house). Cats that enjoy being outside, whether full time or just on little excursions or walks on a harness, are at a higher risk. Prevention of heartworm disease in our dogs and cats is important for a long and healthy life.

Ticks are just gross and most of them love summer. Tick-borne diseases are a serious threat for people and pets alike. For people that like to be outdoors, we are all familiar with the deer tick that can transmit Lyme disease. It is active year-round, so the threat never really goes away as much as we’d like it to. Of the four species of ticks that are found here in our area, the American Dog Tick thrives during summer, and is actually the most common. It likes to be along roadsides, paths, grassy meadows and young forests; which pretty much covers where we like to go during this time of year. The American Dog Tick can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and also tick paralysis. So if you have a great Adventure Dog (or Cat) and partake in outdoor activities wherever the path leads you, or prefer to hang at home in comfort, tick prevention is important.

We cannot forget to discuss fleas. This year-round pest thrives in heat and humidity (does this weather sound familiar?) and are happy to join your family given the chance. Prevention is key!

The springtime helped remind us that our pet’s heartworm and flea/tick preventative are important but it’s important that you continue to give it at the same time every month. What you give this month, covers the exposure your pet had for the previous 30 days. If your pet is not on a preventative, or your pet’s lifestyle has changed, please let us know so we can make sure your pet has the right fit of prevention to live the best, healthiest life possible.