Heartworms are a big problem for both pets and pet parents. The parasites are transmitted through mosquito bites and can cause serious and potentially fatal health problems in pets. But the good news is that there are simple steps you can take to protect your pet from heartworm infection. Keep on reading for our top five tips.
1) Schedule Routine Veterinary Checkups
Annual veterinary checkups are essential for protecting your pet from heartworm infection. Your veterinarian can test your pet for the presence of heartworms and recommend preventive measures (more on this in a moment).
Regular checkups are especially important for pets that live in areas where heartworm infection is common. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors or lives in a high-risk area, be sure to talk to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention.
2) Mosquito-Proof Your Home
As mentioned earlier, heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. This means that one of the best ways to protect your pet is by mosquito-proofing your home. First, consider installing screens on windows and doors to keep the pesky bugs out.
It’s also vital to get rid of any standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Standing water is often found in flowerpots, vases, pet bowls, and other containers that hold water for more than a few days.
3) Minimize Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Once you’ve mosquito-proofed your home, it’s time to turn your attention to your yard. Mosquitoes need water to breed, so eliminating sources of standing water like puddles, ponds, and bird baths will help to minimize their numbers.
You can also help reduce the mosquito population by planting mosquito-repelling plants such as lavender, basil, catnip, rosemary, and mint. Finally, use a pet-friendly, chemical-free insecticide spray to keep the bugs at bay.
4) Limit Time Outside When Mosquitoes Are Most Active
Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and evening. This means that it’s a good idea to keep your pet inside during those times. Not only can mosquitoes transmit heartworms, but they can also carry other dangerous diseases like West Nile Virus.
Mosquito season varies depending on where you live, so be sure to check with your veterinarian to find out when the risk of heartworm infection is highest in your area. During these times, it’s best to avoid letting your pet stay outside for extended periods of time.
5) Give Your Pet Preventative Medication
We’ve saved the most important tip for last. The best way to protect your pet from heartworm infection is by giving them preventative medication. There are a number of different types of heartworm preventatives available, so be sure to talk to your veterinarian about which one is best for your pet.
It’s also important to administer the medication as directed by your veterinarian and avoid missing doses. Heartworm preventatives are the first and most important line of defense against heartworm infection, so it’s vital to use them correctly.
Heartworm infection is a serious problem, but it can be prevented with a little bit of effort. By following these five simple tips, you can help keep your pet safe from this deadly parasite. For more information on heartworm prevention, please talk to your veterinarian.