It makes sense to assume city-dwelling pets are generally healthier than rural ones. They don’t typically find themselves spending long hours in bordering farms or fields, wandering far from home. Urban pets also usually have quicker, easier access to veterinary care.
Sure, city-dwelling pets have a lot going for them. However, that doesn’t mean we can ignore the risks from parasites. If you’ve ever wondered about parasite prevention in the city and whether it’s a major part of overall health and longevity, we can assure you it is!
Truth in Numbers
When we look at the sheer number of animals living close together in a city, the focus is certainly on disease prevention. Urban pets may be separated by floors and walls, but they definitely share common spaces like hallways, entries, sidewalks, and enclosed yards. As a result, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and distemper are natural components of any urban pet’s vaccination schedule.
Pests vs. Pets
Most pet owners are proactive about vaccinations because they value the importance of protecting their animals from dangerous, contagious illnesses. While city-living pets may have fewer encounters with wild, disease-carrying predators, they can undoubtedly be exposed to disease via other common city-dwellers: rodents.
In general, city pets don’t have grassy lawns to roll around in, compost piles, standing water puddles to lap up, or brushy undergrowths to explore. This might limit the incidence of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, but these parasites are still found in urban areas. In some cities, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes are more prevalent than in nearby wide open areas (thanks, in part, to the high heat and humidity).
Don’t be Fooled
As for the areas that seem to attract rodents and other feral animals that harbor parasites, it’s a good idea for your pet to stay away. It only takes a second for a tick to attach itself or a flea to jump onto your pet’s body. Common wildlife to watch out for includes:
- Mice or rats
- Other cats and dogs
As they pass through shady, dark, overgrown areas or passageways next to trash bins, pets can pick up fleas hatched from eggs dropped by other animals. Similarly, puddles or any standing water can have heartworm-carrying mosquitoes seeking their next blood meal.
If a rodent gets into an apartment, it can bring fleas and/or eggs and leave them to wreak havoc on a pet and their home. Ticks can also be dropped from one animal to another, and they’re responsible for Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Parasite Prevention in the City
We recommend keeping pets on a year-round parasite prevention schedule. This will keep your city-dwelling pet safe from heartworm, tick-borne diseases, and the heartache and frustration associated with fleas. Plus, parasite prevention the city also keeps you and your family safe from roundworms, hookworms, and other zoonotic parasites.
In addition, keeping an urban dwelling clean, maintaining grooming habits, and establishing rules about off-limits areas can all keep parasite prevention in the city a priority.