PRODUCTION

Year-Round Flea Prevention Tips for Pet Owners


October 17, 2021

Dog receiving tick medicine

Flea and tick season can start from late March to early April and extend all the way to December. That means that the health risks and adverse reactions associated with these pests are present throughout the year.

Generally, northern and cooler regions of the country experience shorter flea seasons while areas with warmer climates such as the South and the West Coast can have longer pest seasons. Still, since fleas and ticks live year round, they are always a concern.

As a responsible pet owner, there are many proactive and preventive measures you can take to keep you and your furry friends safe and healthy. Check out our top tips for year round protection.

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Tick on human finger

Part of practicing proper year-round parasite prevention requires understanding how these tiny critters thrive, what kind of damage they can do, and what you can do to stop an infestation dead in its tracks.

Fleas and ticks thrive in temperatures between 65º and 80º F but can also survive through the colder months indoors. You can easily have a pest problem if you do not catch them early. It all starts with one flea and tick.

Flea Eggs and Adult Fleas

Fleas are the most common parasites found in animals with fur, including your pets. Out of the 2,000 species of fleas around the world, the U.S. is home to 300 of them. The most common type of flea is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Other flea species include the human flea, dog flea, and rat flea.

Fleas are able to reproduce at a very quick rate. They can produce up to 500 offspring throughout their life. A complete infestation can cause health problems in your pet and expensive flea extermination of your entire home.

    • Appearance: Small, flat, and wingless with three pairs of legs, fleas range in size between 1 to 3 mm and have a dark reddish-brown color. These speedy critters can easily hide in your pet’s haircoat. Use a flea comb on wet pet hair for a better look.
  • Food: Fleas suck the blood from humans and animals such as dogs, cats, rats, and rabbits.
  • Habitat: Adult fleas can live on a host by using their strong legs to jump on to them as they pass by. Once they are on the host, they can reproduce and lay eggs, which fall onto your yard, pet bedding, and carpets.
  • Life cycle: Fleas start off as an egg, turn into a larva, then flea pupae, and finally into fully grown adults. In their pupae stage, they can remain in their cocoons through the cold months until it gets warmer or can attach to a host.

Tick Eggs and Adult Ticks

Ticks are commonly found outdoors in grassy and wooded areas but can easily find a host and make their way to urban areas. In your property, they can live in trees, shrubs, and leaf piles. Generally, tick bites do not cause severe reactions but in some cases it can cause allergic reactions and transmit dangerous diseases to you or your pets through their bites.

  • Appearance: Ticks are small, wingless, and oval-shaped bugs that can be gray, white, brown, black, red, or brown in color. Adult ticks have eight legs.
  • Food: Ticks suck on blood to live. They can hide in grasses and shrubs and wait for a host to pass by and attach itself.
  • Habitat: They can hide out in grassy, brushy, and wooded areas and can lay their eggs throughout a home.
  • Life cycle: Ticks go through four stages of life: egg, larvae (six legs), nymph (eight legs), and mature adults. They can take up to three years to reach adulthood, that is if they can find a suitable host throughout.

How Fleas and Ticks Affect Pet Health

Proper prevention and fast treatment is the best defense against severe health problems. Neglecting your pet’s health can lead to a variety of flea and tick-transmitted diseases including:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis: Flea saliva can produce serious reactions in some cases and cause itching, inflammation, and hair loss in the affected area.
  • Anemia: In small and young pets, major blood loss from a flea infestation can cause anemia, pale gums, and excessive scratching.
  • Tapeworms: A flea or tick bite does not directly lead to tapeworms but the risk increases if your pet accidentally ingests a tapeworm-infected flea.
  • Lyme disease: Ticks are known for carrying the pathogen that causes Lyme disease which can lead to swollen joints, appetite loss, fever, and limping in pets.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Ticks that have been infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever can spread this bacterial disease through their bite which can cause fever, appetite loss, and painful joints and muscles in pets.
  • Ehrlichiosis: A bite from an infected tick can spread this bacterial disease that causes appetite loss, fever, bleeding issues, and depression.

Year Round Flea and Tick Prevention Tips for Pet Parents

Puppy receiving tick and flea medicine

If you want to have a pest-free home, follow these easy prevention tips early in the season:

  • Practice year-round prevention: Fleas and ticks are not just a problem in the warmer months. They can survive well into winter when sheltered indoors.
  • Stock up on supplies: Before it is too late, stock up on the best flea and tick products. If you already have some, check their expiration date. Old tick and flea medicine can be much less effective than a new product.
  • Use the appropriate product for your pet: Dogs and cats have separate types of flea and tick prevention medicine. In fact, dog formulations can often be toxic to cats. Double-check the label to ensure it is appropriate for your pet or consult a veterinarian for further guidance.
  • Regularly check for ticks and fleas: If you have been in an area that has a high concentration of ticks such as wooded and grassy areas, check your pet’s skin, ears, and armpits for ticks once you get home. If caught within 24 hours, ticks do not transmit the harmful pathogen that causes Lyme disease.
  • Monitor for symptoms: Changes in behavior such as fatigue, appetite loss, and limping can be symptoms of a tick bite.
  • Keep your pet well-groomed: As you comb your pet’s hair, check for any dubious pests that may be lurking within your pet’s otherwise healthy coat.
  • Practice yard maintenance: A tidy yard that is regularly mown can deter ticks that prefer tall grass. Removing dead leaves and branches from your yard and stocking wood off the ground in a dry area can limit fleas since they prefer warm, moist, and shaded areas.
  • Consult with your veterinarian: Get a routine check-up for your pet to have a veterinarian examine them for parasitic infections.
  • Keep your home clean: Vacuum carpet, furniture, and solid surfaces. Wash pet bedding and rugs used by your pet.

Spring

As the weather begins to get warmer, these parasites can also become a bigger problem. Before spring starts, stock up on your prevention supplies and stay stocked throughout to stay prepared all season long.

Summer

Warm weather and high humidity are the perfect breeding grounds for fleas and ticks to roam freely and reproduce at a rapid rate. In addition, you are more likely to be outside enjoying the weather, in the same areas that ticks may live. Keep your guard up even more so during summer.

Fall

As the temperatures fall in early fall, you may be tempted to neglect flea and tick control measures to either save money or time. However, you should not completely hibernate on these safety precautions. In the fall, ticks can remain active in the 40 degrees.

Winter

Even during the first frost of winter, fleas can survive at temperatures as low as 30º F for up to five days and transmit disease. During this short time period, a tick can easily enter your warm and cozy home and survive for longer.

Year-Round Pet Care: Flea and Tick Treatment

When your pet gets bit by the bug, here are some treatments you can use:

  • Sprays: Sprays are an affordable method of deterring these pests from hurting your pet. Sprays can last for several months if it is not washed off.

Natural Chemistry De Flea Spray

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Durvet No-Bite IGR Flea and Tick Spray - 16 oz

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Shampoos: When fleas are present, shampoos can remove flea eggs and adults but does not prevent fleas from coming back.

No-Bite Flea & Tick Shampoo, 12 oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs, 16 oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

De Flea Pet Shampoo for Dogs & Puppies, 16.9 oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Spot-on treatment: Topical treatments are usually applied between the shoulder blades and at the base of the neck. The chemicals then spread across the body, killing fleas and ticks for several weeks.

Frontline Plus for Dogs, Medium, 3 pk.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Advantage II for Small Cats, 4 pack

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

K9 Advantix II for Extra Large Dogs, 4 pack

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Oral tablets and chews: Oral products can be taken monthly and can kill fleas and ticks as well as prevent heartworm disease in pets.
  • Collars: Flea collars contain a chemical that deters fleas and ticks from your pet. It can last for several months but may have a strong odor.

Home Treatment

For your home, a variety of products, including eco-friendly and non-toxic versions, can reach every nook and cranny of your home. Choose from indoor foggers, carpet spray, home spray, and garden spray to reach fleas and ticks throughout your home, from your drapes and upholstery to your shrubs and trees.

Shop Flea Prevention Supplies at Wilco Farm Stores

Flea and tick ointment

Before flea and tick season begins or when your pet gets bit, visit Wilco farm stores in person or online to stock up on the best flea and tick prevention and treatment products. Wilco farm stores help you practice proper pet care all year long.

Category
Author
Tags