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The Big Apple is very dog friendly with plenty to offer pet parents including an abundance of dog-friendly parks, cafes, restaurants, and dog runs. The ultimate goal, however, is to keep your pooch safe from exposure to potentially toxic and unwanted pests, which, unfortunately this city has in abundance.

Here’s a handy guide on what to avoid for your dog’s safety.

Don’t Leave the Welcome Mat Out

Make your home a haven for Fido, but less inviting for pests. Seal up all holes, cracks, and other openings around your property where pests can enter. Thoroughly clean your home daily and weekly including washing and vacuuming pet bedding to keep fleas and ticks out. Remember to use plastic or glass containers to hold dry food and treats. Sometimes a plastic bag of treats left in a dog carrier or winter jacket can be bait for rodents.

Combat Rodents

Most New Yorkers, from time to time, have had to deal with a rodent or two getting inside their home, but if you get a rat or a mouse inside the house, use effective methods that are safe for your pup. Snap traps work well, but consider enclosed traps so a curious puppy doesn’t accidentally snap their nose or paw in the trap. Live traps are another option. No matter the kind you choose, always place traps out of your dog’s reach.

Ant and Roach Infestations

Ants and roaches are pests all New Yorkers have to deal with at one point or another. Use bait stations for these insects to limit exposure to your dog. The bait stations work well because they contain only a specific amount of bait, thus limiting how much a dog can ingest in case they get ahold of it. If you discover your dog has chewed up an ant or roach bait station, you will at least know how much they ingested and be able to provide that information to your vet.

Natural Isn’t Always Best

While natural pest control options sound appealing, they may not be the safest option for dogs. For example, garlic is often touted as a natural insect repellent, but dogs can develop toxicosis if they consume garlic in large amounts.You’ll also want to avoid sprinkling essential oils around the house as a deterrent for bugs. Tea tree oil, for example, can be toxic to dogs and cause tremors. Always check with your veterinarian before diffusing any essential oil around dogs, as some oils are more toxic than others.

Keep it Clean

To keep pests out of your kitchen, clean the space daily. Immediately clean up crumbs and spills. Thoroughly wipe any counter space you utilize to prepare food. Sweep and mop the floors daily to remove all crumbs. It only takes one ant to find a crumb and signal the rest to join the party. Get rid of any spiderwebs as soon as you see them.

Store food properly using airtight containers for cereal, sugar, and other items. Refrigerate all perishable foods. Don’t even leave dog food in bowls overnight. Once your pooch has finished their meal, scrub their bowls with hot water and soap and put it away.

Empty the trash frequently. Don’t let it pile up in a garbage bag or bin in your kitchen. Trash attracts rodents, roaches, ants, and other insects.

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Bed bugs in New York City are a big problem. There are infestations across the city but contrary to what you may think, bed bugs don’t typically infect dogs. However, they can hide in collars, catch a ride on their fur, and occasionally bite your dog.

Signs of bed bug bites on your dog include excessive scratching and licking and dried blood on bedding. Signs of bed bug bites on you include raised, red welts in a line or clusters on your neck, shoulders, legs, and other parts in direct contact with your bed. Bite marks appear red on light skin and faint pink or purplish on dark skin.

If you suspect bed bugs, wash your and your dog’s bedding and toys in hot water and dry on high heat to kill the bugs and their eggs. Vacuum and/or use a high heat steamer on anything that can’t be laundered. Toss out any heavily infested blankets, toys, pillows, or other items that can easily be replaced. Call your veterinarian for further treatment options.

Flea Prevention

Fleas are nuisances for your Best Furry Friend.  Adult fleas will feed on your pet’s blood and produce eggs they lay in their fur to restart the life cycle. In general, fleas are not a severe health concern, however, major flea infestations can cause anemia and even death. You can prevent fleas with medication approved by your vet.

Look for these signs your pet has fleas:

  • Your dog may be itching more than usual.
  • His skin may be irritated, red, or have scabs.
  • As you look closer, you may spot adult fleas jumping.
  • You might see flea eggs, which look like tiny white dots.
  • Tiny black specks on your furniture or pet’s bed are dried blood from the fleas.

To eliminate a flea infestation, start vacuuming every day, twice a day. You’ll also need to talk to your vet, and possibly have your house treated by a pest company. In the meantime, giving your dog a bath with dish soap will help get rid of the fleas on them, and after that, using an oatmeal shampoo will help relieve the itching.

If you are planning to move to NYC with your dog, make sure you choose the right neighborhood and familiarize yourself with NYC’s pet policies and regulations.

Tammy has an extensive background in journalism, media relations, social media strategy, marketing, and brand management. She resides in Michigan with her family which includes her two sons and their Goldendoodle, Max. In her free time, she loves to read and travel.


By Tammy Pitts

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