August 20, 2016

Every household needs to have in place a sound pest control strategy. However, if there are pets living with you, things can get complicated.

Dogs don’t understand the risks presented by pest control products and can be put in danger because of them. Nobody wants to see their furry friends poisoned!

Ironically, pets actually attract pests, and prevention is better than cure when it comes to pest control. So what’s a hapless pet owner to do? Other than ensuring there are no leftover scraps lingering in your pets’ food bowls when they’re done eating, never leaving food out overnight, and swiftly removing any animal waste in the house, there are other things that can be done to safely keep pests at bay. Here are some best practices for the use of pest control products around pets. 

Rodent baits 

Rodent bait works effectively on mice and rats by functioning as an anticoagulant. Once eaten by rodents, it thins their blood, causes internal bleeding, makes them fall asleep and then kills them. Unfortunately, rodent baits can have the same effect on other mammals such as cats, dogs and even humans so extreme care must be taken.

There are two types of rodent bait. The first contains warfarin, the second chemicals such as bromadialone, difethialone or brodifacoum. Warfarin-based rodent baits are less toxic than the latter but require a longer time to take effect. 

As bait, they are designed to look appealing to hungry animals, normally through the use of grains. These tend to attract dogs more than cats, as cats eat only meat. 

Here is the key. If you’ve got an animal in the house, ensure that all rodent baits are placed in a lockable bait station, to be kept well out of reach of your pets. Make sure you check for poisoned rodents every morning so your pets do not try to eat them. To dispose of rodent carcasses, place them in a bag in the bin, using gloves to handle them. 

Rodent traps 

Rodent traps are the most natural alternative to rodent baits, but can be tricky to use. Skill and patience is needed in order for rodent traps to work. When installing snap traps, ensure they are put in a place that your pets as well as children are unable to reach to prevent any injury to innocent parties. 

Insecticide sprays 

Insecticide sprays can be harmful in liquid form as they are absorbed through the skin. Ensure that all animals vacate any areas that are being sprayed and keep them away until the insecticide has dried and is no longer in liquid form. Once that happens your pets can safely reenter the room. 

Insecticide sprays can also be toxic to fish, so remove all aquariums before spraying an indoor area. If you are spraying insecticide near a pond, ensure you cover the water body before proceeding. Even if you do not spray directly in the area of the pond, wind can blow the spray in its direction. While dogs and cats have a higher tolerance to insecticides, fish are very sensitive and the tiniest amount can kill them.

When in doubt, make sure to carefully read the packaging and instructions and always error on the side of caution.

Cockroach and ant baits 

Cockroach and ant baits usually have low toxicity in relation to dogs and other mammals, so when used in small amounts they present a minimal risk of poisoning. That being said, as many baits are based on food materials in order to make them more attractive to pests, chances are high that a dog will mistake them for a tasty meal. 

As dogs are always on the hunt for a good snack, it’s important to keep bait out of their reach. Dogs can be more persistent than you think when they’re trying to get their paws on food, so make sure the baits are truly inaccessible.

Insecticide granules 

Every dog owner knows dogs can eat some questionable things, such as sand and kids’ homework. Granular insecticide, which is spread over lawns, resembles sand. This is bad news if your pooch is one who loves digging or frolicking in the grass. Ensure all dogs are clear of the area before you spread the insecticide over it, being careful not to let any granules get into waterways or ponds that might be home to animals. Once the insecticide has been scattered, it is safe to let the dogs reenter the area. 

Personal insect repellent 

Insect repellent that is meant for people to use should never be used on pets. Follow all the instructions on the labels when applying the repellent to your body. In order to protect your pet from mosquitoes, fleas or ticks, speak with your vet to find a solution that’s specially designed for animals. 

Pest control products can hurt your pets, so always read the labels before using any of them. Also ensure you take safety measures so your pets are not harmed by your attempts at pest control, such as by ensuring any products are stored safely and in a locked area. With the proper care, you’ll be able to prevent and rid your home of pests in no time.

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