Is flea and tick treatment necessary in winter?

April 13, 2012

Fleas and ticks are little monsters that will make the life of your pet extremely uncomfortable. Both fleas and ticks are little freeloaders that feed on the blood of the dog. Flea infestation will cause severe itching. When fleas feed, salivary protein will be injected into the skin of the pet. Most dogs are allergic to the saliva so that the pet will develop flea allergy dermatitis. The condition is characterized by severe itching, hair loss and inflamed raw skin that can get infected. Severe infestation can result to anemia when these bloodsuckers feed and cause a significant reduction to the level of red blood cells. Anemia is a serious condition especially in puppies as it can result to the death of the young dog. Aside from the serious discomfort the dog will suffer from a flea infestation, it is highly possible that the dog will be infested with tapeworms as well because fleas act as intermediate hosts of tapeworms.

Dogs have the propensity to wander. These animals love running and frolicking in the woods and in grassy areas where ticks lay waiting. Ticks can exist for over a year without feeding. When the warmth of an approaching animal is sensed, the tick would jump and latch on to the body of the animal. Ticks would not really cause itching but since these are bloodsuckers, these little buggers will also cause anemia. Moreover, ticks are vectors of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, tularemia, ehrlichiosis and other life threatening diseases. Fleas and ticks can transmit these diseases to the human family as well. Fortunately, these parasite infestations can be easily eradicated. Once the parasite is noticed, medications have to be immediately given to the pet. Flea and tick oral medications, topical treatments, soaps, dips, shampoos and collars can easily eradicate these parasites that make the pet extremely uncomfortable. Regular vacuuming of carpets, cleaning of the areas where the pet sleeps and a regular grooming routine will keep these parasites at bay. The infestation can be prevented with yearlong preventative measures especially in areas where these flea and tick infestations are most prevalent.

Flea and tick infestation are most prevalent in spring and summer months. Fleas and ticks need a warm environment to survive. Cold weather causes these parasites to lay dormant. Does this mean that flea and tick treatment would no longer be necessary during the winter months? Dog owners are aware of the fact that while flea and tick treatments can effectively resolve the infestation, the chemicals in these treatments would also have harmful effect to the health of the dog. Thus, dogs would not be given preventative measures during the cold months when infestation is highly unlikely. That flea and tick control measures would not be necessary during the winter months is a misconception. True, these parasites cannot survive the cold outdoors but consider the fact that flea and ticks would certainly thrive inside temperature controlled homes. Moreover, these parasites that managed to infest rabbits, squirrels and other wild animals can jump on to the dog when it wanders outside the home.

The warmth of our temperature controlled homes would be ideal environments for these pesky free loaders. A year round flea and tick preventative campaign would still be necessary to ensure that an infestation would have damaging effects not only on the health of the pet but most importantly on the health of the family. Treatments that will control the infestation all year round is the only way to save the pet and the family from the dangerous effects of flea and tick infestation. We pet owners are aware of the dangers of pesticides but these harmful effects can be prevented by using tick and flea treatments that are recommended by the vet.

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