Can you smell that, dear reader? Springtime is in the air! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the world has begun to be reborn again anew! I know we’ve all been cooped up inside all winter along, and most of you are probably about to go crazy to get out of the house. Before you and your faithful furry companion answer the call of adventure and go bounding wild into the great outdoors, know this. Just as your soul has reawakened in the new light, and warmth of Spring, so too has the rest of the natural world begun to wake up from their long sleep.
Where a few months ago there might not have been any animals to be cautious of while outdoors, there are plenty now. I’m talking of course, about BUGS. (gross) Sorry, I’m not a bug person.
Anyway, specifically we’ll be discussing insects that might bite, sting, or otherwise cause harm to you and your dog if you should happen to encounter them while outside.
Bugs to look out for:
- Where you might find them: Usually found near fresh, stagnant water
- Why you should avoid them: Mosquito bites spread disease, including Malaria, West Nile Virus, and Swine flu. The thing you should be most concerned about where your dog is concerned though? Heartworms.
- You can prevent mosquitos from biting your dog by using a repellant that does not have DEET in it. DEET can be toxic to dogs. Instead of using repellent you can also try a shirt with insect repellent in the fabric, such as one from Insect Shield.
- Where you might find them: anywhere there is a lot of decay, and around animal dung.
- Why you should avoid them: They are a nuisance! Aside from that, the bites can cause irritation and potential for infection.
- Where you might find them: can be found in many places outdoors. Cool, shady areas with tall grasses.
- Why you should avoid them: Left untreated, flea bites could get infected and cause major problems. Use a natural flea and tick solution to kill fleas and deter infestations. I like Pure and Natural Flea and Tick Spray. It’s made from all natural stuff so I’m never worried about hurting my dog with toxic chemicals.
- Where you might find them: Like biting flies, Mites can be found near any kind of dead animal, as well as near animal dung.
- Why you should avoid them: Mites get under a dog’s skin and cause irritation. This creates Mange. Sarcoptic Mange causes irritation of your dog’s skin, and can lead to permanent skin damage and and damage to their fur from constant scratching., Demodectic Mange. a more serious condition, can lead to sores on the body, hair loss, scaly crusty skin, and lesions.
- Where you might find them: all regions around the world, and all parts of the United States.
- Why you should avoid them: Many kinds of ticks carry Lyme disease. You should always make sure that your dog has been treated for ticks because they can hide on your dog’s body and go unnoticed until long after your dog has been affected. Ticks can be difficult to properly remove, but I really like using my Tick Tornado to do this, because it’s super easy to do. You just hook the tick and twist to remove it from your dog’s skin.
- Where you might find them: Everywhere
- Why you should avoid them: Ant bites, especially fire ant bites can be very painful. They can get infected and cause problems.
- Where you might find them: near flowers, and pollen producing plants.
- Why you should avoid them: Bee stings hurt! Aside from that, your dog could be allergic to their sting and may have a serious reaction.
- Where you might find them: Inside of hollow playground equipment, and under the eaves of structures.
- Why you should avoid them: Like bees, wasps can give a painful sting to your dog. Fortunately, both bees and wasps are relatively docile and will only sting when threatened.
- Where you might find them: Inside of rotten logs, and other places where there is a lot of rotten wood. Yellowjackets like to nest in disused animal burrows underground.
- Why you should avoid them: Hornets are by far the most aggressive insects on this list. They will sting without provocation, and are also capable of delivering a very painful bite. Hornets, unlike bees, can sting repeatedly as well.
I didn’t make this list to scare you, and I do understand that insects serve an important purpose in the natural chain of life, so I don’t want you to come away from reading this with a wholly negative opinion of insects. I don’t like them, but I make most statements about bugs being gross in jest… mostly. Bugs are important and we need them.
But! That doesn’t mean there are not some bad actors in the bunch who have the potential to make you and your dog’s lives much harder. So it’s good to at least be educated. Now you’ve got the facts, and you can be prepared to take the outside world by storm! So go outside and play!