Do Dogs Need Fleas And Tick Medicine In Winter?

Fleas and ticks are the little monsters that make the life of our pets uncomfortable.
Fleas and tick infestation are most prevalent in the spring and summer months.

They need warm weather to survive, and the cold weather causes these parasites to stay dormant.

Therefore, we wonder if fleas and ticks treatment is necessary during the winter months?

Is Fleas And Ticks Treatment A Necessity In Winter?

Yes. Fleas and Ticks cannot survive freezing temperatures, but if they can find their way to your dogs’ warm coat and hold on, they would thrive inside where temperatures are excellent.

Dogs have a natural instinct of wandering around. They love running and frolicking in grassy areas where ticks lay waiting.

The problem is that ticks can survive over a year without feeding. When they sense the warmth of the animal body, they jump and latch on to the animal. Ticks may not cause itching but will cause anemia, as they are bloodsuckers.

These parasites feed on the blood of the dog. When they feed, they inject a salivary protein into the pet’s skin, causing severe itching.

Most dogs are allergic to this parasite saliva and develop flea allergy. This condition is characterized by intense itching, hair loss, and inflammation of the infected skin.

However, a severe infestation may cause anemia when these bloodsuckers feed and significantly reduce the red blood cell level. Accordingly, once these parasites are noticed, medication has to be immediately given to the dog.

While dog owners are aware that flea and tick treatment can resolve the infestation, they also know that the chemicals in these treatments have a harmful effect on their health. Hence, dogs may not be given this treatment during winter when the infestation is unlikely to happen.

However, this is a misconception. The fact that these parasites cannot survive the cold outdoor weather doesn’t mean that they would thrive inside the controlled temperature homes.

What Should You Do When Your Puppy Or Dog Gets Fleas?

Most flea and tick protection products are not safe to use on puppies until the age of seven or eight weeks.

However, once your puppy is old enough, it’s essential to start a monthly flea and tick preventative medication. Your vet will be able to recommend a suitable dose when it is safe to begin using it with your puppy.

The flea treatment (according to veterinarians) will be safe for puppies as young as four weeks and a minimum of two pounds. Also, some flea shampoos can be used, but they are not very effective.

Some pet owners even say that they strip out the dog’s natural oils but never kill the fleas. The Seresto collar is quite useful in stopping the flea larvae from molting in addition to the shampoo. This collar can be used for dogs as young as seven weeks and up to eight months.

The flea comb is also used as an alternative to medication or for puppies younger than four weeks. It is recommended to regularly run the flea comb throughout your dog’s coat to check fleas’ presence and safely remove them.

Also, keep an eye on the flea dirt; these are little black specks found usually on the dog’s belly or around the tail.

Another common way of protection is cleaning your home. This depends on the severity of your pet’s infestation. This method would be necessary to clean your house from flea eggs and larvae, which could re-infest your pet.

Make sure to vacuum your carpets and clean all your pet’s bedding and any chairs with padding.

What Is The Importance Of A Year-Round Preventative Campaign?

Fleas and ticks can also infest rabbits, squirrels, and other wild animals. They would jump on to the dog while wandering outside the house, in addition to the ideal environment of the temperature-controlled homes, which will be a perfect thriving place for these parasites.

A year-round treatment campaign will be a necessity to ensure that this infestation would not affect the health of the family and the pet.

Although we are aware of pesticides’ dangers, we can prevent the harmful effects by using the flea and tick treatments recommended by your vet.

Why Should I Continue The Tick And Flea Prevention During Winter?

With the month of December approaching, a common question is, “Do I need to continue flea and tick prevention?”. The typical answer would be, 

“It’s winter; it’s too cold for those things to survive the cold weather.”

Well, the truth is, these suckers can survive whole year-round. Not to mention that if they enter your home, they will definitely stay in a better environment with a host to feed on.

Therefore, contrary to the beliefs, the winter season is the best time to combat fleas and ticks. But we have to differentiate between them:

Fleas: one of these bloodsuckers is enough. Only one flea brought into your house can cause flea infestation.

These parasites can survive outdoors at a temperature as low as 33 degrees for around five days. This will be enough time for them to come in contact with a host like your dog and come into your house.

The fleas’ eggs can live year-round in protected areas such as garages.

Ticks: They are more active in late summer and early fall.

Spring and summer are usually considered as tick seasons, neglecting their activity in the fall. Ticks can be active in temperatures from 40 and as low as 32 degrees.

When you take advantage of the warm and mild days in winter to take your dog out, you expose your pet to ticks.

Your dog can also be infected through social settings, such as kennels and doggie parks. Although these facilities make all the necessary precautions to ensure no ticks or fleas are present, yet it only takes one dog carrying one tick or flea to spread the infestation.

Some Pet Owners Are Not In Favor Of All Year Preventatives

Some owners wouldn’t use all year preventatives due to the cost. Although these preventative products are very effective, yet they are quite expensive.

Some pet owners would stop using preventatives during the cold weather to save money, even though veterinary hospitals often have special offers for their products.

Those who have experienced a flea infestation would know how expensive, time-consuming, and difficult it is to get over it.

Another reason is that some pet owners fear that these products are not safe and can farm their pets. But, the truth is, all reported reactions and illnesses related to these preventatives were a result of the user error. These products have proved to be safe when used correctly.

Several Myths Concerning Fleas And Ticks

There are several myths about fleas and ticks in winter:

  • The first is related to the belief that pests are only a problem during the “flea season.”

    As we mentioned, fleas thrive in hot and humid conditions. These warm months are generally called the “Flea season.”

    The flea season is quite a concern, of course, but this doesn’t mean that your pet will be safe for the rest of the year. Fleas can survive and reproduce outdoors all year long in many climates; they’re experts in hiding indoors when the temperature drops outside.

    This puts your pet at risk for a flea infestation, regardless of the temperature outside the house. In warmer areas, fleas take up a different residence; they hide in straw and sawdust in barns and sheds.
  • The second myth is that fleas only live in carpets.

    Although fleas love to stay into carpets, they don’t need it to reproduce. When the flea eggs fall off your pet, they hide in wood cracks and pitted tile areas as well as the carpet fibers.

    When these eggs hatch, you will have a house full of jumping, biting fleas. So, even if you have a different kind of floor, you should be using flea and ticks preventatives for your pet all the time.
  • The third myth is that most people think that fleas and ticks don’t bite people.

    It is believed that they prefer cats, dogs, and other mammals with fur.

    But, the truth is they bite people as well. People living in homes with severe flea infestation can develop itchy bites mostly on their legs.

    Accordingly, the best thing to do is expand your battle to include treatments and regular cleaning and vacuuming to remove flea eggs and larvae from carpets and rugs.

    You might even use home spray on furniture and bedding to kill and repel pests.
  • Another myth says that city pets don’t need flea and tick prevention.

    But, the truth is fleas and ticks are everywhere. They might even be more of a problem in the city areas because you and your pet are their only nutrition source.

    Additionally, ticks prefer tall grass, and they can easily cling onto your dog when he crushes up against the grass.

Conclusion

We all know that ticks and fleas are dangerous to your pet’s health. These little vampires can feed on your blood as well.

They can survive cold weather to a certain extent, but they always manage to find a suitable warm hosting place to spend the freezing winter weather and reproduce.

So, the bottom line is, you need to be on flea and tick preventatives all the year round and wherever you live. Always refer to your vet for the useful kinds and suitable doze that your dog needs.

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Author: Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

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