What Pests are Harmful to Your Pets?

What Pests are Harmful to Your Pets?

Pets easily become part of the family, and you want to make sure that they are living safe and happy lives. One way to protect your cats and dogs is to be aware of the types of pests that can do them harm, and then practice proper pest control to care for them.

Here are some of the most common problems for pets that may require pest control help in the Houston area:


One of the most pest breeds associated with pets are fleas. Cats and dogs are so often allergic to the saliva of fleas that, if left untreated, they develop rashes and scratch their own skin excessively. Some dogs and cats will scratch flea bites so that their skin becomes raw, red, and can even become infected. Treat your dog or cat with vet-recommended flea baths or collars to keep fleas away. If your home is infested, you’ll likely need the help of a pest control professional.

Read More: 5 Signs of a Flea Infestation (And What to Do About It) 


Carrying Lyme disease, canine anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and canine ehrlichiosis, ticks attach themselves to your pet’s hair or fur and then crawl up to infest the skin. These diseases can not only be passed to your pet by ticks, but can also end up being contracted by humans, resulting in even more dangerous symptoms and damage. Perform tick searches when your pets have been exposed to woody areas.

Heart Worms

Transferred by mosquitoes, heartworms are very common. After infestation, a newborn heartworm can take several months before becoming active in your pet’s bloodstream, eventually growing to be up to fourteen inches long. Dogs have been known to carry up to thirty heartworms at one time, whereas cats can die from infestation of only one heartworm.

Keeping your home protected from mosquitoes, and administering heartworm medication to your pets, are both recommended for prevention.


While most snakes are harmless to people and pets, these types of snakes live in areas around East Texas and Houston and may be dangerous:

  • Cottonmouth Snake: Also known as a water moccasin, this snake swims and spends time at the edge of the water near lakes and ponds. If your dog is a swimmer, then he or she might be especially susceptible to this venomous snake. Usually these snakes don’t bite unless they are bothered. Get your pet to the vet right away if you discover a bite.
  • Eastern Coral Snake: Easily confused with other similar snakes, the color bands on this venomous one are arranged so that the red touches the yellow, with black in between the yellow. This type of snake can inject toxins into your pet that will make it stop breathing. These snakes are not very common but it’s still important to be aware.


Somewhat less obvious but still potentially harmful to your pets are ratsThey carry terrible diseases that can easily be transmitted to your dog or cat without even coming into direct contact. Rats may contaminate food and water sources with urine and droppings. Or, your pet may even inadvertently lick areas infested by rat urine or droppings. Diseases that can be carried through rats to your pets include:

  • Leptospirosis: This potentially fatal disease affects the liver and can be easily transferred to your dog through sniffing or ingesting urine from rats.
  • Tularemia: Also known as rabbit fever, this potentially fatal disease can be passed through contaminated drinking water or if your dog eats a rat. It can also be passed on to humans.
  • Toxoplasmosis: This is a parasite that can be passed to cats and dogs if they eat a dead rat. Vomiting and fever are symptoms, and pregnant pets are particularly at risk.
  • Rat Bite Fever: Caused by scratches or bites from rats, as well as by ingestion of rat droppings by cats or dogs. Bacteria can be passed on to humans and may be fatal.


Due to the strong desire that cats have to chase after mice, they are at particular risk. Many of the same diseases passed on through rats are applicable to mice as well. Consider getting a bell for your cat if he or she has a particular penchant for chasing mice.

Protecting your pets and family from harmful pests can feel a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. For professional pest control in Houston to help you protect your home and property, contact Cypress Creek Pest Control.

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