Call out the SWAT team!
Yep, it’s fly season again. You can bet they’ll be out in force as warm weather shows up. Researchers suspect flies transmit at least 65% to humans, including anthrax, e coli, dysentery, and a lot more deadly illnesses. Pets don’t escape a fly’s wrath, either. Biting flies will try to inflict infection and disease on dogs and cats whenever they can sink their chompers on their prey.
Flies hang out in unsanitary places (piles of garbage, refuse sites, and sewers), feeding on rotting, spoiled, and decaying matter. They also think dung is a great meal. So, what can you do to protect your cat and dog from flies and everything that comes with them? Well, a 24-hour, on-the-job fly swatter team would be an excellent idea, but who has the time for that? Luckily, there are safe alternate methods that pet parents can take to lessen Fido and Fluffy’s encounters with flies this spring and summer.
Please note that not all fly products for dogs are safe for use on cats.
View Infographic: Flies, More Than Pests >>
Get the Buzz on Flies
In combating flies, it helps to get a little insight into their habits and how their reproduction works. Flies only ingest liquid food, so they spray their saliva on top of solids they desire and suck it up through a straw-like part of their body called the proboscis. Flies drink a great deal of water to keep salivating and will drink wherever they find it, such as rain-filled containers, ponds—and your dog’s water dish. Flies regurgitate and excrete wherever they come to rest. So if the fly that lands on your dog has just come from a smorgasbord in a nearby garbage can, whatever germs it has acquired will be deposited at that spot. Those tiny specks that appear in places where flies congregate are actually their fecal matter.
Flies reproduce at an alarming rate. Adult female flies lay 100-150 eggs in any decaying matter they can find, including garbage cans and dung. After about seven and a half hours (in warm weather), the eggs will hatch and release worm-like creatures called maggots, which proceed to gorge wherever they reside and later change into larvae. A larva will, in time, become a pupa and, later still, emerge as an adult fly. Adult flies start mating within a day or two and the process starts all over again.
Cats, Dogs, and Fly Control
Several common types of flies bite dogs and cats to get a blood meal—though in general flies seem less interested in felines. Regardless, fly bites hurt; any human who has been a fly target can attest to that. To keep your pet from becoming part of a fly’s daily roster of targets, some simple things can help keep pests away. Start by cleaning up a dog’s outside waste often. Since flies are drawn to dung, cleaning up doggie piles daily or twice a day may help keep these pests out of the yard. Likewise, outside food dishes will draw flies since room temperature and warmer food will start to breed bacteria. And flies will continue to bite as long as they have the strength to do so. This can lead to infections with oozing, itching areas on your pet’s skin.
Flies will bite more during the daylight hours, so simply moving a pet inside takes fly aggression down. Keep flies outside by making sure window and door screens are tight, with no access points or holes. Caulk holes around pipes and vents to prevent flies from getting inside.
Annoying, obnoxious, and downright irritating aptly describes tormenting flies. Set your sights on flies this season with prevention, treatment, and safety. Help pets enjoy the outside without fear of becoming a fly’s next target.
Related Article: Take Steps to Control Flies Around Your Horses