Angie's List: Keeping parasites off your pets during the summer

INDIANAPOLIS - If your Independence Day celebration includes spending lots of time outside, be sure to keep your pets in mind with your party planning.

Summer months put dogs and cats at-risk for fleas and parasites, but there are ways to stop those problems before they start. 

Pet owner Joe Kaiser said he knows firsthand about the problems that plague pets during the summer.

"Being a volunteer at the Humane Society, I see too many animals with heartworm coming in with fleas and ticks. I feel so sorry for them because they are suffering," Kaiser said.

Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks said thinking ahead could mean an easier way of life for your pet.

"During these summer months, preventative care for your pets is important. The treatment is much more expensive than the preventative maintenance is," Hicks said.

Dr. Greg Magnusson with Leo's Pet Care 40 said it's all about the timing.

"It takes about three months for a flea egg to develop into a flea adult so the adults that you're seeing on your pet today are laying eggs that aren't going to hatch for another three months," Magnusson said.

Meanwhile, heartworms are spread by mosquitoes

"A mosquito will suck blood out of an infected dog or cat and fly over to a neighbor's house and then take a second blood meal off that dog or cat and inject the worms into that pet," Magnusson said.

A monthly chewable pill can help protect your pet from heartworms, but you'll likely need a prescription form your veterinarian.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to parasites is that they can invade your pet as well as your home.

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