Every human being has had a mosquito or flea bite that they just wanted to scratch completely off, yet pet owners often do not pay any attention while their dog is scratching away. Being less furry than our four-legged friends, we can look right at an itchy spot and usually identify it. Dogs and cats, however, do not know why they itch so badly. They have no knowledge of insects that bite, or allergy flair-ups. Our best friends rely on us to help them.

Worse than a terrible itching that the dog does not fully understand, the pooch can also get heart-worms from insect bites. The worm grows to astronomical lengths in the chambers of the heart, eventually killing your best friend, if not caught by a relatively inexpensive blood test by a vet. You are the only thing that stands between your dog’s misery, and possibly even death. Preventative measures can be taken by you, buy purchasing a product that has a strong reputation for safety. Frontline and Revolution are two of the ones most highly recommended for safety by most vets.

There are very inexpensive products on the shelves that have a reputation for being dangerous to a pet’s health. Make sure you call your vet before buying a cheap product. In fact, most vet offices have staff that does not charge a dime to answer a question about the reputation of any brand, when called on the phone. Flea and tick sprays are usually not a wise idea, although they are incredibly inexpensive. Cats, with their propensity to groom themselves for long periods of time when anything unusual is on their fur are quite susceptible to poisoning from sprays. Cats have licked off the temptingly affordable sprays on the shelf, and have died from poisoning. Many owners have contacted the manufacturers of such sprays, and were met with denial that the product was the cause of the pet’s illness. Despite many negative articles found online about these cheap products, the manufactures have been able to keep these sprays on the shelves for literally decades.

Another preventative step is to keep your lawn cut to a short height. A short lawn holds the moisture of morning dew for a shorter time, as well as helping the grass dry after a rain. Dry, short grass is less likely to harbor nests of mosquitoes, and fleas. Also, search your exterior property for standing water in any container, tire, or deep crevice. Mosquitos breed more than rabbits if standing water is available.

Your vet can identify potential allergy attacks on your four-legged buddy. Unfortunately, it may be more common than you would think. Just because you are not allergic to grass, pollen, or ragweed, does not mean that your pet is not. You can’t see what’s in the air. When you think you are doing your pet a big favor to let them sit in the sunshine, in the yard, you may be sending them out to enjoy lounging in something as nasty as what poison ivy is to you.

Be on the ball. Watch your pet for even the slightest of scratching. Use preventative measures, and call your vet’s staff for free advice over the phone. Pets can’t do this for themselves. You’re it!