As soon as the winter weather moves in and the snow starts to fly or the temperature dips, you may think that you can stop treating your pets for fleas and ticks. However, the truth is that you should continue treating your pet year-round. Even in the winter, flea and tick prevention is necessary as it’s still possible for pets to be affected.
These Pests Are Stronger than You Think
Commonly, fleas and ticks are most active when the weather is warm—and that’s true for a lot of insects, including those pesky mosquitoes. You treat your pet during these times because you don’t want to risk them picking up an illness that these pests can carry.
As soon as the weather turns, you may not see these insects as often, which may lead you to believe that your pets are at a lower risk of an infestation. However, just because you don’t see fleas and ticks as often, that doesn’t mean they have disappeared.
In fact, it has been found that fleas can live outside in temperatures as low as 33 degrees for up to 5 days. Flea eggs can thrive year-round, and if you aren’t keeping up on your cleaning, especially under your furniture, in your garage or in your crawlspace, then you might have flea eggs hanging around. As soon as these areas get warm, the eggs will hatch, and you and your pets can get infested.
Your dog goes outside often, and if you cat ventures outside, it’s possible they’ll pick up these fleas and bring them inside. Once they get indoors, the warm, humid environment of your house will revive them and give them the opportunity to thrive.
When it comes to ticks, as long as the temperature remains in the mid-30s, they will be active. As soon as the temperature reaches 40 degrees or higher, they are up and moving. That means if there are any warm winter days that are perfect for taking your dog for a hike, they may be exposed to ticks. If you haven’t treated them, then the chances of a tick latching onto them increase.
Your Pet Can be Exposed to These Pests in Other Ways
Not only can fleas and ticks survive some harsh weather conditions, but during the winter, there are many holidays that encourage people to spend more time with friends and family. If you are traveling to visit loved ones, you probably take your pet with you. If you are taking them into other people’s homes, you don’t know what kind of cleaning or pest prevention they do, so it’s possible that you are unknowingly exposing your pet to these pests.
Even if you don’t take your pets with you when you travel and you board them, there’s still a chance they could be exposed to fleas and ticks. A reputable kennel will do what they can to keep their facilities clean and reduce the chances of animals sharing fleas and ticks, but they aren’t perfect. Anything can happen, leaving your pet infected with these awful creatures.
Invest in Protection
You might think that the colder winter weather will keep your pets free of fleas and ticks, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once a flea infestation has taken over your home, it’s not only your pets that are at risk. You are your family can become hosts for fleas as well. The same goes for ticks. They aren’t species-specific, so if your dog brings one into the home, it could find its way onto you or your kids.
The Weather Can Always Change
The other issue with stopping flea and tick prevention during the winter is that there are no rules when winter is supposed to begin and end. Sure, there are dates that say this is the first day of winter and the first day of spring, but fleas and ticks don’t live by the calendar. They live by when the weather gets warm.
Thus, if you’re waiting until the first day of spring to start your pets on their flea and tick prevention, they might have already been exposed. There could have already been some warm days in that time, and fleas and ticks will be up and moving. Planning your flea and tick prevention by the weather isn’t the best plan.
Your Home Is Always an Ideal Environment
Your home provides the perfect environment for these creatures to thrive. They have warmth and a food source, so they aren’t going to go anywhere. To ensure that these nuisances don’t get into your home, it’s a good idea to continue treating your pets year-round. There are a variety of different medications you can get for your pet, including some over-the-counter options. You can also talk to your vet to determine which is the best option to prevent fleas and ticks throughout the winter months.
Other ways to reduce the chances of a flea or tick infestation in your home include keeping your space clean. This means vacuuming and dusting at least once a week, making sure to get under furniture and other places where fleas and ticks might hide. You might also consider cleaning your garage or crawl space every so often. You have the option of doing this yourself or calling in professionals to help.
Keep Your Pet Protected Year-Round
Your dog doesn’t stop going outside just because it’s cold, and this could easily expose them to fleas and ticks. If they bring them into your home during the winter, it won’t take long for the problem to become a serious issue, maybe even for the whole family. The warm air and fact that your home is closed up during this time of year create the perfect environment for fleas and ticks to thrive. Protect your pets and yourself by keeping up your flea and tick prevention routine. Continue giving them flea and tick medication year-round.