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5 Types of Pests that Can Harm Pets

Everyone loves their pets and takes excellent care of them, but there are a bunch of pests out there that can cause big problems for our fuzzy friends if we’re not especially cautious. Below, we’ll list some pests out there that post the most serious threats to our pets and our homes.

Luckily for pet owners, pest control professionals are available to help reduce the risk of infestation and restore your peace of mind.

1. Fleas

Did you know that besides latching onto a host, fleas can hop about a foot off the ground to find more victims? Once a flea attaches, usually the worst damage they inflict includes skin irritation and minor allergic reactions. More severe allergic responses could cause pets to lose hair and scratch until they bleed.

Probably one of the greatest concerns is the diseases fleas can carry. These include tapeworms, cat scratch disease, and other health problems. When a pet has tapeworms, it could have what looks like white grains of rice in its feces or around their anus.

The best way to prevent a flea infestation on your pet is to closely monitor their play areas to see where these blood-sucking pests are hanging out most often. Especially after a romp in the woods or long grass, check your pet’s fur often with a flea comb and apply effective flea treatments. Some over-the-counter treatments are sufficient for some cases, but prescription flea medication might be the best for your situation. Consult your vet to find the best flea treatments for your pet.

2. Mosquitoes

Mosquito bites can leave a swollen, itchy welt on your pet’s skin, and at worst they could also spread harmful diseases like malaria and heartworm.

Symptoms of heartworm might include sudden weight loss, a decrease of appetite, unusual and sudden fatigue after normal activities, resistance to exercise, and even a swollen belly because of too much fluid in the body. Malaria in pets is much rarer, but signs may include drowsiness, fever, and loss of appetite.

The best way to keep your pet healthy is to monitor your pet carefully for signs of illness or irregular behavior and visit the vet often for regular checkups. Without proper treatments, either malaria or heartworm could cause serious health problems for any dog or cat.

Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, you can avoid mosquitoes by checking around your property for pools of water and getting rid of them, especially in areas where your pet usually hangs around.

3. Ticks

These little eight-legged vampires wait around wooded areas or in long grass for a warm-blooded host to attach to and suck their blood. Once attached, ticks can feed for days or weeks and are hard to remove.

Ticks can spread diseases including Rocky Mountain Fever (which can occur anywhere, not just the Rocky Mountains), Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, and Cat Scratch Fever. Some smaller animals with too many ticks attached to them can suffer from anemia because of the loss of blood. In extreme cases, some pets can experience severe reactions to chemicals in tick saliva, causing paralysis.

The best way to keep ticks off your pets is to check them regularly with a tick or flea comb and use tick and flea treatments. Again, some over-the-counter (OTC) methods may not be as effective as a prescription treatment from your vet.

If you’ve ever been bitten or stung, you’ll probably want to avoid getting it again. Stings and bites aren’t fun for your pet, either. Some cats or dogs might come across some of these critters and try to play with them, so watch closely. If possible, it can pay to train your pet to stay away from pests that could pose a threat or cause problems.

Seek help from a vet right away if your pet is bitten or stung. If you can, bring the pest’s dead body or good-quality photos along for identification, which can help in the treatment process of bites from a spider, scorpion, or centipede.


Even though they look like fighting machines, these stinging, eight-legged bugs with pincers usually don’t go picking out fights. But if you get too close to those pincers and that sharp stinger, scorpions pack serious venom in their sting and a painful pinch in those claws.

If you or a pet comes across one of these and is stung, the pain is described as similar to a bee or wasp sting but can be much more dangerous, so seek medical or veterinary help as soon as possible.


The most poisonous spiders in the United States are the black widow and the brown recluse spiders. The brown recluse is typically found in the southern states, but the black widow and equally poisonous relatives — like the Northern Black Widow — can be found as far north as Boston or even New York.

Spiders aren’t usually aggressive and will generally leave an area if their webs are destroyed and they can’t find any bugs to eat. Getting sprayed for bugs around your house could make a difference in fighting against spiders.

If your pet is bitten, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. For both pets and people, the outlook for even the worst spider bites is good if you respond quickly.

Bees and Wasps

Most dogs and cats instinctively avoid bees and wasps, but a curious kitten or a daring puppy could decide to play with one, so keep an eye out.

The worst that could happen with a single bee or wasp sting is an allergic reaction, in either pets or people, so it can pay to watch your property for any bee or wasp activity and get professional treatments for them right away.

Consult your vet to find out the best action you should take if your pet is stung. For some pets, an ice pack and some downtime might be the best remedy, but additional action might be necessary for other cases.


Even though they look nasty, most centipedes don’t present much of a threat to most pets. But the larger and more colorful they are, the more deadly they can be. Though rare, a bite from a large centipede could cause tissue damage, muscle spasms, and heart attacks in extreme cases.

Since centipedes eat other bugs and just about anything they can catch, the best way to avoid them is to keep the other pests away, so getting your house sprayed for pests could keep centipedes away and help you avoid any problems with them.

Fire Ants

Most ants don’t pose a significant problem, but some kinds of ants, like fire ants, can have stings with painful poison similar to a yellow jacket or a bee’s. If the entire colony gets involved with your pet, the results could be serious.

Watch out for any ant mounds on your property and consider calling the professionals for help to get rid of them.

5. Wildlife


These masked bandits can raid your garbage, garden, or compost piles, tear up your grass, destroy your house and other property, spread ticks and fleas, and carry rabies. Many dogs can’t resist attacking one of these noisy intruders the moment they step on the property.

The best way to get rid of raccoons is to seal your garbage with rope or bungee cords, place garbage bins and wood piles at least 20 feet from the house, and keep your yard completely free of fallen branches or fruits and other debris.

If your neighborhood has raccoons or other wildlife, it may be time to call the professionals for additional help.

Rodents tend to crawl through some nasty stuff and pick some gross things along the way, like salmonella or parasites like roundworm or toxoplasma, which could transfer to a pet that eats or comes into contact with an infected rat or mouse.

You can keep rats and mice away from your home by sealing cracks and crevices of your home with silicone caulk. You can also make your home less attractive to them by keeping your food in airtight containers. Most peanut butter snap traps work well for mice, but rats can be more difficult to exterminate, so it can be worth it to call a reliable exterminator.


Although generally harmless otherwise, skunks are famous for their unbearably odorous defensive spray. They usually keep to themselves and root around for grubs and other treats. But if a curious pet gets in their way, not only could they cause a stink in your home that will refuse to go away, but they can also carry and spread rabies and other diseases.

Professional Treatments

If you’ve ever tried to deal with an infestation on your own, you know how frustrating it can be. That’s why Fox Pest Control offers free inspections and a no-obligation quote over the phone. Our Home Protection Plan covers crawling insects, stinging insects like wasps, and rodents like mice and rats.

Unsure whether you have a specific pest? Don’t worry — our Pest Pros have all the experience and knowledge necessary to perform a comprehensive inspection to determine and treat a problem.

All our protection plans are catered to your needs and adjusted to your unique circumstances. Each of our pet-friendly and child-safe products are environmentally responsible and also take care of the problem effectively.

When you call Fox Pest Control in Boston, MA or the surrounding areas, you aren’t just hiring a pest control company. You’re joining a family that cares about you, your family, and your pet’s safety. We get the job done right the first time. Because No Bugs is Simply Better.

Posted on April 10, 2020.

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