HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s important for pet owners to protect our dogs and cats from fleas and ticks which run rampant in the warmer months. But cold weather doesn’t necessarily mean the end of these pet-pestering parasites.
Dr. Ted Diamond of Valley Veterinary Hospital explained that fleas can be a threat year round.
“They can live all winter long on dogs and cats outside. Then when they come in the house they drop all their eggs and larvae around your house. So fleas can frequently be found in winter because they are left over from the fall,” Dr. Diamond said.
Ticks can be even a bigger problem. They don’t die off during the winter, but rather they hibernate.
“When it’s very cold they go into a hibernation, they’re not very active. They are not going to be attaching to your pets. But at the first increase in temperature like yesterday, they immediately come out of their coma and the first dog that comes by they will attach to,” says Dr. Diamond.
And according to Dr. Diamond your pets lifestyle can also play a role in how susceptible they are to fleas and ticks.
Dogs who are active and run in the woods, socialize at dog parks or doggie day care, even those that share their home with a cat are more prone to picking up parasites like fleas and ticks.
Dogs that are couch potatoes, aren’t out much and aren’t socialized are less likely to pick up the insects.
Dr. Diamond says that the best way to keep your pets protected is to keep them on a year round flea and tick preventative medication. He adds that over the last few years these medications have become less toxic and more effective, making them safer for you and your pet as long as they are used as your veterinarian recommends.