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5 Pests that are Bad for Pets

Most of us take really good care of our dogs and cats, but there are a bunch of pests out there that can cause big problems for our fuzzy friends. Below, we’ve listed the most common pests that cause issues for our families and our pets.

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

1. Fleas

Even though it’s pretty creepy to think about, fleas can jump about a foot off the ground to find a new host, and they usually stick there for days or weeks at a time. Luckily, the most damage they usually inflict on a pet is limited to excessive scratching.

Fleas aren’t completely harmless, though. They can cause cat-scratch disease, allergic reactions, hair loss, and bleeding due to scratching. Probably the worst thing fleas can do is transmit tapeworm to your pet, which happens when a flea with a tapeworm egg gets swallowed while your pet bites themselves.

Signs of a tapeworm infection are little white grains that look like rice around your pet’s anus and in their feces.

One thing you can do to keep the fleas away is to combine grooming with vigilance. After your pet plays in your yard or a park, examine them closely with a flea comb. Notice the areas where your pet picks up the most fleas so you can show the pest professionals when they come to help.

2. Mosquitoes

Humans aren’t the only ones that can be bitten by mosquitoes. Pets can end up with itchy red welts as well, so it can pay to keep your eye out for them. Usually, mosquitoes don’t cause more than an itchy spot for a week or so, but they could cause an allergic reaction in pets or people and spread diseases.

Mosquitoes are definitely one of the worst pests for humans because of the diseases they transmit, but other than heartworm and malaria, not much is known about which diseases mosquitoes can transmit to pets. Probably the most concerning diseases transmitted to pets, a heartworm can cause decreased appetites, unusual fatigue after normal activities, sudden weight loss, reluctance to exercise, and a swollen belly from excess fluid in the body. Just like the name implies, heartworms can eventually cause heart failure if left untreated.

3. Ticks

Like mosquitoes and fleas, ticks are also bloodsuckers. These eight-legged hitchhikers stay hidden in tall grass and wooded areas for a new host to come along. After they catch a ride, ticks can stay on a host for days or weeks and are tough to remove, even with tweezers.

Tick-borne illnesses that pets could get include Rocky Mountain Fever (which can happen anywhere, not just the Rockies), Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Cat Scratch Fever. Rarely, some smaller pets can have so many ticks on them that the blood loss results in anemia.

To prevent problems with ticks around your home, cut the grass short, especially around the foundation. Clean up the yard thoroughly, including fallen leaves and branches. Check your pet thoroughly after a romp in long grass or playing in the woods or parks. Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick treatments for your pets. Consider calling a pest control professional for tick and flea protection in and around your home.

4. Venomous Bugs: Stingers and Biters


Although these many-legged critters look like the stuff of nightmares and B-grade alien movies, the smaller varieties don’t usually cause much trouble for your pets. However, the larger they are, the worse they bite, and centipede venom packs a serious punch.

In rare cases of bites from large centipedes, the venom causes tissue damage, muscle cramps or spasms, and (very rare) heart attacks.

Since centipedes eat other insects, the best way to keep them away is to take their food away by spraying for bugs. A pest professional can help protect your family and your pet by getting rid of centipedes and the other bugs that might be lurking around the house.


These eight-legged silk spinners give plenty of people the creeps, and for good reason. Luckily, the most dangerous spiders in the United States — black widows and brown recluses — don’t usually cause serious long-term problems if they receive treatments. Brown recluses are typically found in the Southern States, but black widows can be found further north. Residents of Rochester, NY are unlikely to see an actual black widow, since most of them don’t naturally occur so far north. But that doesn’t mean to ignore spider bites, since other poisonous spiders can still cause problems even though they aren’t as poisonous.

If you or your pet is bitten, seek medical or veterinary help right away. To speed up the treatment process, either bring the spider body along with you for identification, or take good-quality photos of the spider so the professionals know what kind of venom to treat for.

When you know what to do, keeping spiders away can be simple. Spiders are lazy and probably won’t come back if you knock down their webs and keep away their prey (other bugs). Calling a professional pest control professional can make a big difference.

Bees and Wasps

Plenty of pets instinctively stay away from bees and wasps, but problems can still come up.

For most dogs and cats, stings don’t usually do much more than cause a painful bump on the skin. In the worst-case scenario, however, a pet could experience a severe allergic reaction, just like some humans. Consult your veterinarian to know the best course of action for your situation.

Wasps and bees can be serious, especially if they set up a nest on or inside your house. Dealing with bee or wasp problems on your own can lead to serious problems, so don’t hesitate to call the professionals for help.


As intimidating as they look with their pincers and dangerous sting, scorpions don’t usually go looking for a fight and like to keep to themselves. But if a curious cat or daring dog comes too close, one of these pincers or stingers could flare out and cause some damage.

Although a scorpion sting is about as painful as a wasp sting, it could lead to much more serious problems. If you or your pet is stung, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.

Fire Ants

Most ants don’t cause problems for pets, but some ants aren’t so innocent. Fire ants are just one of the many ant species with stingers that can cause serious problems, especially if your pet gets too close to a colony full of stinging ants.

Your local pest professional is always available to help with a pesky ant infestation that just won’t go away.

5. Wildlife


Raccoons cause all kinds of problems for homeowners. Besides the threat of spreading rabies to your pet, these masked bandits can also raid your garbage cans, spread ticks and fleas, tear up the grass, strip gardens, and damage your home.

Many pets can’t resist a game of tag with raccoons, especially when they make a racket outside. Not only will finding a good wildlife professional help protect you from their damage, but it can save you the headache of treating them yourself and restore your peace of mind.

To keep raccoons from becoming attracted to your house, lock up your garbage bins, place woodpiles and garbage cans at least 20 feet away from the house, and clean up the yard of fallen fruit, leaves, and branches.

Mice and Rats

No one likes rodents around the house, but it might not be a good idea to let the family pet go chasing after them. Mice and rats can carry all kinds of diseases like toxoplasma, roundworm, and salmonella. Not to mention that they like to visit nasty places like the sewer before touching your food.


Famous for their powerful defensive spray, did you know that these little striped critters behave a lot like cats? They don’t like to mix much with other animals and like to trundle around and look for grubs and other insects.

However, they aren’t completely harmless. They are the primary carriers of diseases like rabies that can affect your pets if they are allowed to snuffle around your yard, not to mention the powerful stink they can spray on a curious dog or daring cat that gets too close.

If your neighborhood has problems with wildlife like skunks, it can make a big difference to train your pets to avoid them. Consider calling the professionals for wildlife management as well.

Rochester Wildlife Exclusion and Pest Control

Although many homeowners instinctively try to deal with pests by themselves, it can be time-consuming and frustrating, not to mention creepy to deal with these crawlers on your own.

Fox Pest Control offers free, no-obligation inspections in person or a free quote right over the phone. Our Home Protection Plan benefits over 50,000 Americans today, repelling and eradicating crawling and stinging insects, as well as rodents.

Fox’s Premium Wildlife Control and Exclusion services are now available to Rochester residents as well! A well-trained, experienced wildlife technician will arrive at your home, thoroughly assess the problem, work with you to make a humane and effective treatment plan, and evaluate the results.

When you call Fox to your home in Rochester, you aren’t just hiring a company. You’re joining a family that cares about you and your pet’s well-being. So call today, because we get the job done right the first time. Because No Bugs is Simply Better.

Posted on April 10, 2020.

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