Mosquito warning to dog owners

CLEVELAND - The annoying summertime tradition of battling blood-sucking mosquitoes is back.

Not only can these pesky little bugs be dangerous to your family, but they can also be a big problem for your dog.

Health officials say the mosquito population in some areas is up this year, and that means bad news for your pets that can't protect themselves. Veterinarians like Dr. Scott Pawling are seeing numerous bites.

"Any biting insects have the potential to cause an allergic reaction," Dr. Pawling said. "Not to mention some of them carry disease along with them."

So what should you look out for if your dog has been bitten?

"Swollen face, eyes, hives, just like we get. On a longer coated breed, you're probably not going to be able to see it, you may be able to feel them," Dr. Pawling said. "Vomiting and diarrhea right after the event. Sometimes they become so lethargic; they almost faint or pass out. Their heart rate actually drops."

Dr. Pawling said in some cases the bites can be fatal.

That's scary news to Chris Butler, so she's going to be on the look out for mosquito bites too.

"He's just like a family member to us, so I am worried," Butler said. "I would be hesitant now to take him anywhere near the lake, near a wooded area."

Experts say the only way to make sure your dog stays healthy is to do the same thing to protect them, as you would yourself. If your dog is outside during peak mosquito times, Dr. Pawling said it's a good idea to check them out thoroughly before they come into the house, to make sure they don't have a bite.

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