Can dogs or cats get Zika virus? With all the worry about Zika in Rio this has been a concern. Although at this time there is NO evidence that dogs or cats can transmit or contract Zika virus...studies really haven’t been done. However, because we know pets can become infected with mosquito transmitted West Nile virus and Heartworm, mosquito control IS important. Unfortunately a consequence of climate change is more mosquitoes, and a larger distribution of them. One of the best preventative things you can do is to eliminate mosquito breeding areas by removing water from gutters, flower pots, bowls, or buckets. Three fourths of the mosquito life cycle requires standing water, and the less around the better. Keeping vegetation trimmed back and lawns mowed also helps. Mosquitoes feast on plant nectar when they aren’t prowling for blood, so they spend a lot of time in tall grasses or around shrubs and bushes. There are some plants mosquitoes avoid- citronella, catnip, lavender, marigolds, basil and peppermint are all deterrents.
Mosquito repellents can be helpful...but remember no repellent is 100% effective, and it takes just one bite from an infected mosquito to cause Heartworm infection...so you should still use Heartworm prevention in conjunction with repellents. Three licensed veterinary products are Vectra 3D, K9 Advantix II and Bio Spot and can be used on dogs, but are very toxic in cats and it's not recommended to use these on dogs that spend a lot of time around cats.
Preventive Vet advises some human products, such as essential oils — including tea tree, neem, and citronella — can be useful in keeping mosquitoes and other insects away from your dogs.It’s important to only use DILUTE formulations of these oils. The concentrated oils can cause very serious problems for dogs if applied to their skin, and even the diluted ones can cause problems for cats. We have had some luck with Avon's Skin So Soft products. Their spray can be placed on a cloth and used to gently wipe your dog's face - avoiding their eyes. Very importantly:
Stay away from DEET! Most of the common bug sprays and mosquito repellents for people contain DEET, in varying concentrations. DEET can be very toxic for dogs, leading to vomiting, staggering, seizures, and other concerning problems.