Why is Year-Round Flea and Tick Prevention Important?

Tonya Tenters, CVT
Veterinary Pharmacovigilance Specialist
Pet Poison Helpline

So, it is that time of year that we are thinking about snow, cold, and holidays. The last thing we are thinking about are fleas and ticks. It is a common assumption that as soon as the colder temperatures are here that these bugs go away. But, they don’t!

We can see fleas, even in colder regions of the country, with freezing temperatures. Why? Because fleas can still be brought into your home and the pupae stage of the fleas can survive cold temps. With the colder weather fleas come in on mice and other critters that may take up residence in the warmth of your home. We can bring fleas in ourselves on our socks and shoes and as soon as the heat is turned on, voila, they hatch and are happy to be inside. What we don’t want to do is give these fleas a host – an animal that provides nourishment for the flea e.g. your pet. It only takes 12-24 hours for a flea (with a viable host), to start their reproductive process. The female flea can lay up to 40-50 eggs a day. This means that in a very short period of time the fleas can become a HUGE problem.  The key to stopping fleas from infesting your home is to eliminate their ability to reproduce. This means protecting your pets all the time – all pets, even the strictly indoors cat or a dog that spend most of their time indoors.  Those are the hosts that any flea inside can feed off and then reproduce.

Ticks, too, can survive very cold temperatures, and as soon as the temperatures warm up a little, they are present and looking for a host. Ticks carry a lot of different diseases and pose a risk to your pet’s health. Keeping your pet protected year-round, reduces that risk.

So, as you are thinking about winter and the holidays, don’t forget to keep your pet’s protected!