Common Pests That Can be Dangerous to Your Pet

Do a Google search on the most deadly animals in the world and you might never leave your house again. The wandering spider of Brazil, the Blue-ringed octopus off the Australian coast and the North American alligator all top the list of the world’s deadliest creatures. Luckily, most of us do not need to worry about an alligator attack in our suburban home’s backyard. When it comes to our family’s safety—including our pets!—it is common pests who pose the greatest danger.


When your pooch chomps down a fly or June bug, there is no repercussion (with the exception of a possible bad taste left in your dog’s mouth). However, bees and wasps are another matter. These stinging insects can deliver a painful, and sometimes deadly, amount of poison to your unsuspecting pet. For an adult human, the effects of a bee sting are painful but non-deadly unless they have a severe allergy. Small pets have a greater poison-to-body weight ratio; and like humans, if the animal is allergic to the sting, it can be deadly.

For optimal prevention, make sure there are no nests or hives in the area. Periodically scan your home, especially under eaves and between tree branches, since this is where wasps like to build their nests. Pets are generally stung on the nose, mouth or paw while investigating the insect. If this happens, remove the stinger immediately. Do not use tweezers as these can force more poison into the wound. advises using your fingernail or a butter knife in a scraping motion instead. Look for signs of allergic reactions. If you see your pet having difficulty breathing or severe swelling, get to a vet quickly. If your pet does not exhibit these symptoms, your pup is likely able to heal on his own.

Fire Ants

These aggressive, poisonous pests are the bane of hunting dogs—especially hounds. Because this breed tends to find things with the nose first, it’s common for beagles and blood hounds to get stung over the nose and muzzle. Fire ants will swarm if the hill is disturbed, clinging onto their victim and injecting painful poison, according to If your pet is bitten, wash away any attached ants with cool water. The bites will become welts, then pustules. Do not let your pet scratch them or they may form an infection. As with bees, keep an eye out for allergic reactions. Fire ant mounds are relatively easy to see. If you find one, remove it with the proper spray so the colony does not spread.

Fleas And Bedbugs

We would be remiss not to put these pests on the list of common but dangerous creatures. It’s not their irritating effects on pets that earn them a place, though. Instead, it’s because they can spread deadly disease in a flash. Fleas and bedbugs are zoonotic carriers, meaning they can spread disease between pets and humans. According to the Center For Disease Control, these blood-sucking insects can carry a variety of plagues to dogs, cats and humans, including bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic plagues. Pets can get bedbugs and humans can get fleas. The only significant difference between the two is that fleas are adapted to moving through fur and bedbugs are mobile in fabric and places we rarely look. Bedbugs and fleas have similar extermination methods, though. Clean the infected area with hot water then vacuum away the detached bug. It may be easiest to simply toss extra-infested furniture or bedding, according to Bedbugs are great at hiding, so make sure to hire a company that denatures or removes bedbug eggs as well. Use a prescription-grade topical pesticide for the human and animal hosts.

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