Can my pet get fleas in winter?

catfleWith Thanksgiving just around the corner, many pet parents have erroneously concluded that they can discontinue flea and tick preventative until next summer. They tell me time and time again that they thought the cold weather would kill those nasty critters.

However, fleas don’t necessarily die when it gets cold. Fleas will only die when the weather dips to the freezing mark and remains there for greater than 1 week. And as Darwin predicted, the strongest will survive even that. The most intelligent fleas will find ways to stay warm. They will take up residence on wild animals, depositing eggs that will hatch throughout the cold winter and into the spring months. Other fleas find warm areas inside sheds and other covered areas. They can also jump on you when you walk past these hiding places and get a ride into your home and onto your poor unsuspecting pets.

The takehome message: keep using flea and tick preventative until the weather is below freezing for a minimum of two weeks (or better yet, don’t stop using it at all). Make sure you apply the product directly on the skin or as directed. Fix fencing to keep out wild animals as much as possible, clean under decks and remove debris. If it warms up early, start your topicals again. Use quality topicals such as Vectra, Effitix, Advantix on dogs. Make sure to take care of cats with products that do not have permethrins. We recommend Vectra for cats and Effipro. It’s also possible to treat your dogs with oral medications such as Bravecto which is administered every three months. If you use Bravecto, there is no need to use the topicals. It’s important, though, for your dog to have a thorough physical exam prior to starting Bravecto and to mark it on your calendar so you don’t miss any doses. If you have any questions, call us at Yardville Animal Hospital today.

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