Can Dogs Get Fleas in the Winter?
Fleas and ticks are usually a worry for warm weather. But should you still be worried about fleas in the winter? Believe it or not, fleas are not just a summer thing. Let’s take a look at what precautions you can take to keep your dog flea-free all-year-round!
If you’re wondering how a dog might get fleas in winter, it’s not hard to find answers. Maybe fleas came into your home from outside as temperatures fell. Maybe you took your pup to a dog park or doggie daycare where fleas jumped from one animal to another. Whatever the reason your dog has fleas, it’s important to remember that fleas are survivors. They’ll find a way to make it through the cold months.
Does the Cold Kill Fleas?
The cold will help to kill fleas or at least reduce their populations. But if the region in which you live doesn’t get very cold, it might not be enough to drive the critters away. Fleas will find warmer places to survive for a short time. They’ll even survive a few days of freezing temperatures if the conditions are right. For the cold to get rid of them for good though, they need prolonged exposure.
This is because not only can they survive a little cold, but they’ll continue to reproduce as long as they can. A female flea can lay as many as 10,000 eggs in a month. If the female will find a small warm haven, then her offspring have a good chance of surviving as well. It’s only when they are exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period that the reproduction cycle slows down enough for the cold to have a real impact.
So even if you think it’s too cold for your pet to get fleas, you’d likely be wrong. This is why using flea preventatives year-round is so important.
How to Prevent Fleas
Fleas are tough and can reproduce very quickly, so preventing them is the best option to deal with them. The most common recommended preventative is simply a flea collar. These collars are worn by your dog in addition to their normal collar. They are also medicated. This insecticide on a flea collar helps keep fleas away from their favorite spot, your dog’s neck.
You can also use a topical liquid or gel. These usually come in a small tube or bottle. You simply apply a small amount of the liquid down your dog’s back as close to the skin as you can. The liquid then dries on your dog’s scalp and provides excellent protection against fleas.
The last common preventative is an oral pill or treat. These pills are insecticidal so they don’t harm your dog, but instead, they target fleas at specific times in their life cycle. Some pills target adult fleas, while others target the larvae.
Treatment for Fleas
The unfortunate part about your dog getting fleas is that you don’t only treat your dog. If your dog has or had fleas, you must assume that your home and yard now also have fleas. The first thing you’ll want to do though is treat your dog with medication as suggested by a vet.
Aside from trying to prevent a flea infestation, there are a few more steps to take. The first thing you’ll want to do is get a flea shampoo. This specially formulated shampoo is medicated to kill fleas in all stages of life. It is, however, also gentle enough to use on your dog’s skin. Fleas can cause some discomfort and your dog ‘s skin might be a bit raw.
You should also get a flea comb. This comb has very fine teeth and is meant to trap any fleas that you swipe across while brushing your dog. It will also help to remove any of the fleas’ waste that you come across. Referred to as “flea dirt,” their waste looks similar to black pepper. Brush your dog all over with this special comb to remove as much as you can. Just be sure to be very gentle around the neck and tail as this is where fleas usually like to hide.
When you do find fleas on your dog, don’t try to crush them by hand. You should put the entire comb in hot soapy water. Fleas are able to jump very far, so your best bet is to get rid of them as soon as you can.
After dealing with fleas on your dog, start treating your home as well. You can try:
- Indoor foggers
- Carpet sprays
- Carpet powders
These products are specially made to keep the fleas out of your home and kill them if they are already there. Just be sure to use the products as recommended. Also, be sure to use these products for the entire time they are recommended for. Stopping treatment too early can cause another outbreak.
Dealing with fleas isn’t the end of the world, but remember that it’s much easier to prevent fleas than getting rid of them.