It’s winter time and many of us start to let our guard down about our flea and tick prevention. But we live in North Carolina where we can have days that are 70’s and sunny. Can’t complain about that! But it does mean we have issues with fleas and ticks all year round. And we all know we don’t want those nasty critters on us, our pets, or in our houses!
We actually see just as many pets with flea allergies during the winter months as the summer months. So we recommend keeping your dogs and cats on flea and tick prevention year round. Why it is so important?
** Once fleas are in your house, it is much harder to get rid of them. An adult female flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day. Typically the adult fleas you are seeing represent a small percentage of the actual flea population, with the eggs making up fifty percent of the population! Fleas love 70-85°F temperaturesand around 70 percent humidity. Welcome to North Carolina! So prevention is the best policy.
**Fleas and ticks both carry diseases which can be life threatening to you and your pets such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Mycoplasma haemofelis, Cat Scratch Disease (Bartonella).
**Fleas carry tapeworms. Ever seen those rice looking segments in your pet’s stool? Those are likely tapeworms and can come from fleas.
**Fleas can cause allergies for your pets. Both dogs and cats can be allergic to fleas, which can make them very itchy, loose hair, and have skin infections. Again prevention is the best way to prevent skin issues from fleas.
So how do you prevent fleas and ticks?
**Use year round prevention for all of the dogs and cats in and around your house. But remember cats are very sensitive to certain flea and tick products so make certain you are using a product made for cats!
** Treat the environment if you have a flea/tick problem already.
**Check for parasites often and if you see any, discuss with your veterinarian other ways you can prevent these yucky parasites.
There are many flea and tick products on the market ranging from long acting collars, to topical drops, and to oral pills that can last as long as three months for dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about the product that is best for your pet.
And once you have the fleas and ticks under control, both you and your pets can enjoy the warm weather!
Boo Donoho, DVM