Protecting Your Pets from Pests

Did you know? For nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. According to WebMD, pets help lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety and depression, boost immunity, and more.

This May, in recognition of National Pet Month and your furry friend, join fellow pet owners in promoting pet ownership. Raise awareness of the benefits of pets for people and people for pets, and most importantly, get proactive about providing a healthy environment to protect your pets from pests.

Following are several tips for providing a flea- and tick-free environment for your pets to keep them healthy and happy all year long:

Free from Fleas

  • Once the pet is brushed and shampooed, the house and yard need attention. Fleas spend only 10 percent of their time on the animal, so treating the immediate environment is essential.
  • Clean up any debris which may harbor food and lodging.
  • Wash bedding regularly in hot water.
  • Vacuum carpets and crevices regularly. Remove cushions and vacuum cleaner bag at once so flea eggs won’t have a chance to hatch and re-infest the house.
  • Steam cleaning carpets may also help as the hot steam and soap can kill fleas in all stages of the life cycle. Pay particular attention to areas where pets sleep.

Tackling Ticks

  • Modify your landscape to create Tick Safe Zones. Regularly remove leaf litter and clear tall grasses and brush around homes, and place wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas.
  • Provide a vegetation-free play area. Keep your pet and children’s play areas away from away from shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation. Prevent them from roaming around in wooded and overgrown areas where ticks can be more prevalent.
  • Prevent ticks by proactively protecting your pet. Tick control products are available for use by the homeowner, or they can be applied by a professional pest control expert. Even limited applications can greatly reduce the number of ticks.
  • Spray your yard to reduce tick populations. Studies show that one application of the right pesticide at the right time and in the right place can reduce black-legged tick populations by 85-90 percent.  Select the right product for your location and read and follow all label directions.

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ridgefield Health Department.

To learn more about some of the specific parasites that can harm your pets, visit You can also follow Debug the Myths on Facebook and Twitter.

Categories: Health Pets
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