Pets are our prized possessions because we become so emotionally attached to them.
Animals, especially those that are domesticated and kept as pets, have rights that guard their health and protect their safety. The five basic animal rights, also referred to as freedoms, are:
- Freedom from thirst and hunger,
- Freedom from pain and distress,
- Freedom from discomfort,
- Freedom from pests and diseases,
- Freedom to express innate behavior.
From the five animal freedoms, it is the right of your pet to be free from both animal and insect pests and the diseases they are likely to cause, and it is your responsibility as a pet owner to fulfill this right.
Major Insect Pests of Pets
These are known to be major disease vectors, such as piroplasmosis, babesiosis, mange, scabies in humans, and ehrlichiosis. Apart from these diseases, which all involve discomfort and pain, and could also lead to the death of animals, these insect pests cause hair loss, itching, loss of appetite, fever, and a brush-tail appearance of the hair coat of your pet, making it look shabby and unkempt.
Control of Insect Pests
The control of these insect pests is not only beneficial to the animals but also the pet owners, their families, and neighboring animals as well. Some of these insects are vectors of zoonotic diseases that are transmissible to humans.
These pests can be controlled by:
- Regular spraying of lawns, cages, pens, and pet play areas with acaricides which are chemicals used against these insect pests,
- Bathing and grooming of pets regularly, as well as trimming of long hair coats which could harbor these parasites,
- Regular trips to the veterinarian for a routine checkup,
- Sanitary practices which include quick disposal of feces, washing of cages, kennels, and pens routinely, as well as trimming overgrown lawns and grasses,
- In cases of insect infestation, you may spray non-toxic acaricides on the pets and visit the veterinarian for treatment.
Various animals could serve as pests to your pets, depending on the pet type you keep. They range from rodents like mice and rats to wild animal species such as raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, and birds.
Animal pests place your pets at higher risk than insect pests and may be dangerous to pets in some of the following ways:
- Harboring ectoparasites and insect pests that may be transferred to your pets via contact,
- Contaminating food and water and competing with your pets for these,
- Most animal pests can cause harm and injury to your pets and, hence, can be dangerous,
- Their feces may contain eggs of worms and other organisms which when ingested by your pets may cause problems,
- Some animal pests such as foxes can feed on your pets, making them predators,
- Animal pests may cause agitation and nervousness which, in large animals, may result in stampede and trampling, causing huge damage and losses,
- Some diseases like rabies can be transmitted through animal pests to both pets and their owners.
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Safety measures that can be applied in the control of contact between animal pests and pets include:
- Build fences to keep your pets in and pests out of your yard,
- Destruction of burrows and dens belonging to animal pests,
- Regular checking of cages and pens of pets for holes created, and immediate fixing of any damage noticed,
- Vaccinating pets against diseases that can be easily transmitted from animal pests,
- Depending on the laws of your state, you could set traps which will not inflict injury on the pests and dispose them far away from your yard,
- Most animal pests come to your yard because there is a perceived food source. Make sure to dispose of any food remnants and keep your pet food safe and away from these animal pests,
- Call the wildlife control center in your locality to remove wild animal pests from your property,
- For pet birds, make sure to keep feed troughs away from free-roaming birds and avoid having open water sources where these birds could drink and bath.
The health and wellbeing of your pets should be prioritized as an objective of significant importance since pets depend on their owners for the implementation of their freedoms. It’s important to consider how to get rid of raccoons, foxes, and other pests from your yard. Wildlife pests, if given room, will cause pain, discomfort, and disease to pets and must be controlled. As much as it depends on you, limit the contact between pests and pets to prevent the damage that may occur as a result.