It’s summertime, which means the winter months are behind us and we finally get to enjoy plenty of warm air and long, sunny days throughout Minnesota. For both people and their pets, it can be a chance to get out and explore the world. For dogs especially, summertime is a smorgasbord of delightful sensory experiences with critters all around and plenty of interesting smells and sounds to explore.


But summertime can also bring with it a host of added potential hazards for pets, especially for canines with adventurous spirits. Some of the more common summertime health problems we see at Normandale Veterinary Hospital are caused by harmful insects and parasites. Read on to learn about the biggest summertime bug dangers from our Edina veterinarian care team.

1.   Ticks

Ticks are bad news for dogs. Although ticks are found year-round in many regions, pets tend to spend more time outdoors in tall grass and brush during summer, making them particularly vulnerable at this time.


At best, their bites will only mildly irritate a dog’s skin. But they can also cause infections or even diseases such as Lyme disease. A veterinarian can help you remove ticks safely and check for ticks that may be hiding in your pet’s paws or fur.

2.   Mosquitoes

Nobody likes mosquitoes with their irritating bites. But for dogs, mosquitoes can carry a deadly parasite known as heartworms. Common dog heartworm symptoms include lethargy, trouble breathing, and reduced activity. Our veterinarians can run tests to detect heartworm infestation and treat your pet if he is suffering from heartworms.

3.   Fleas

Fleas can be extremely difficult to get rid of once they make a home on your pet. These unwelcome freeloaders can also make your dog or cat’s life miserable, voraciously feeding on your pet’s warm blood for up to 2.5 hours at a time according to Individual fleas can continue to live on pets for as long as a couple of months, consuming as much as 15 times their own size in your pet’s blood.


Undiscerning houseguests that they are, the tiny terrors will make a home on just about any animals they can get blood from. They easily travel from animal to animal by hopping onto their fur coats. Once they’ve settled in, fleas quickly multiply and become an out-of-control infestation. Their numbers can increase at a horrifying rate, with a single female flea laying up to 40 or 50 eggs daily and 2000 in her lifetime. To make these pests extra tough to get rid of, the burrowing larvae can get deep into your carpeting, bedding, and other home furnishings.


And unfortunately, fleas can cause more serious health problems than itching – including cat scratch fever and tapeworms. Thankfully, our veterinarian team at Normandale can treat your pet for fleas with our grooming services so the last thing she has to deal with is the itchy nuisance of a flea infestation. Since fleas require a very specific combination of carbon dioxide, heat, blood, and movement to hatch, the key to stopping these infestations is disrupting the process.

4.   Spiders

Spider bites are less common than fleas and ticks, but they can be extremely dangerous. The dangerous northern black widow spider is native to Minnesota, and while these eight-legged critters are rare here, a bite from one can be quite dangerous for pets just as it would be for humans. One of the world’s most poisonous spiders, their venom is 15 times as potent as a rattlesnake’s, attacking the nervous system. Symptoms of a black widow bite can include a painful red bite along with vomiting, muscle rigidity, diarrhea, agitation, and tremors, among other signs.


Like black widows, brown recluse bites are rare but incredibly toxic. Brown recluses love to hide in corners and tend not to bite until cornered. But pets can be naturally curious, which is exactly why they can end up getting bitten by these creatures. Signs of a brown recluse bite include a bulls-eye blister with a red circle that has pale tissue surrounding it. As the venom progresses, the tissue inside will die, causing the center to darken. Signs of a brown recluse bite include lethargy, fever, bleeding, and respiratory problems. These bites should be addressed right away as they can lead to serious health problems including permanent kidney damage.


Other types of spider bites that are less toxic but could still lead to health problems for your pets include hobo spiders and yellow sac spiders. If your curious hound has been bitten by a spider, she can end up with a large sore or even a serious infection. Bring her in right away if you suspect a spider bite. If you do happen to see the spider that bit your sweet pup or kitty, try to snap a photo with your phone or capture the offending arachnid in a jar to show the veterinarian. This will help us know how to better treat your pet.

Contact Our Edina Pet Emergency Care Team

When your family dog gets out into the world and starts to explore, a world of adventure is waiting for him. But it’s important to keep up with regular veterinary care, especially if you suspect your pooch has been injured by a summer bug or picked up a parasite.


If your pet has been injured, contact our pet emergency care services at Normandale Vet Hospital right away at 952-831-8272. Or you can connect with us on our contact page to find out about preventative care today.