Fleas and ticks are parasites that can attack your pet at any time of the year. You never want your pet to be afflicted by these pests, so prevention is always the best policy.
You might wonder why you need to pay attention to fleas and ticks in the wintertime. It's true that fleas and ticks thrive in 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can still survive in colder temperatures. That means that even though fleas and ticks might seem less prevalent during the winter, they're just trying to hang on until the spring and summer when they can hatch and multiply. Your pet's coat is a perfect place for them to hide and stay warm until the outdoor temperatures rise.
If that sounds disgusting to you, make sure you stay vigilant on applying your pet's flea and tick medication. There are topical treatments, collars, tablets, and sprays that can help prevent fleas and ticks throughout the year. Some are more effective, while others are simply more convenient. To avoid any lapses, take note of how long each treatment should last.
Between treatments, watch for signs of fleas and ticks, which include:
- Eggs or droppings in your pet's hair
- Licking, scratching, or biting at skin
- Hair loss
- Pale gums
- Visible ticks on your pet's body
Neglecting flea and tick treatment at any time of the year can have serious consequences, especially if you live in or are visiting a place where fleas and ticks are more common. Fleas and ticks can both cause harmful diseases in your pets, and sometimes those diseases can spread to humans. Examples include Lyme disease, tapeworms, and cat scratch disease. There are many other flea-borne and tick-borne illnesses, too. If nothing else, these pests can lead to infestations that will eat at your mind as well as your belongings.
Once fleas and ticks find a host or a place they like, they set up shop and reproduce. Whether it's on your pet's body or somewhere else in your home (think furniture, baseboards, or the basement), they can multiply quickly and get out of control. If you are faced with an infestation, steam clean the carpets, vacuum your furniture and floors, and wash your sheets and clothes. Try to maintain your yard regularly because ticks love tall grass, old scraps, and rodents that may be attracted to loose trash. If you notice any signs of fleas or ticks, or you exhibit any symptoms of tick-borne illness, consult a doctor and exterminator immediately.
Remember, fleas and ticks are problems you want to handle before they start. The few minutes it takes to apply treatment is well worth avoiding the snowball effect of an infestation. Consult your veterinarian if you struggle to apply the treatment regularly. There may be a more reliable option for you to try.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.