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Fall and Winter Fleas: Get Ready

September 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Dog and Cat- tching from flea and ticks

What do the months September, October, and November mean to you? These are the days of colder weather, warmer clothes, and autumn celebrations that usher in thoughts of falling leaves and harvest feasts--but to your pet, these three months mean something else entirely: the most relentless part of flea season. You might think that fleas "give up and go home" during the colder weather, but unfortunately for dogs and cats everywhere, that's just not true. If you searched "animal hospital near me" hoping for information on this strange fact--and what it means for your pets--then read on.

But Why?

In the public mind, fleas are commonly associated with the hot weather of summer. Why would these little creatures be even more ferocious during September, October, and November? For the answer, the experts at our animal hospital turned to the science of fleas.

To illustrate, imagine a pet without any flea protection which goes outside during these colder months. The pet--let's say it's a cat named Mittens--is just beginning to grow her winter coat, which makes her a warm, cozy home for fleas looking to escape the cold weather. That's a serious problem, because the fleas are more active than ever as Mittens wanders around through their hideaways, and it's all because fleas are attracted to the moisture that comes with autumn precipitation. It's a recipe for disaster: the fleas find a perfect habitat inside the cat's fluffy fur, and, thanks to uniquely damp conditions, flea reproduction levels are higher than ever. What's worse is that, while eggs are being laid on Mittens, her thicker fur makes it difficult for her owners to notice or remove the fleas. (That's not even taking into account the fact that each female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day.) Thanks to the conditions caused by the changing seasons, the fleas are at large--and an infestation can be created in mere days.

Preventing Fleas

From poor Mittens, we've learned why flea season peaks September through November, it's important to begin understanding the next step: prevention. Because we know what draws the fleas during autumn, it's easier to create a plan--but it's not necessarily easy to stop these little pests. Preventing fleas requires constant vigilance, a little scientific knowledge, and an ally in pet care from your local animal hospital. Take a look at just a few ways our experts have come up with to help avoid a flea infestation!

  • Science. We just learned above that fleas don't give up in the autumn--in fact, they just get more determined. This makes it even more important than ever to keep using flea and tick products, even though most people abandon these preventative measures once summer is over. Ask your veterinarian about what's best for your dogs and cats, always read the instructions on a box of flea or tick medication, and, most importantly, remember that the science behind fleas makes it necessary to keep using these preventative products even in autumn and winter.
  • Home protection. Remember Mittens? Well, it's bad enough that she has fleas; if she were to bring those fleas inside the house, the infestation could multiply indefinitely. Fleas are drawn to the warmth of a cozy home, which means that your house is in just as much danger as your pets (more, if your pets spend a lot of time inside). There are many ways to protect your human family from fleas; the first step is to keep pets from carrying fleas inside by using flea and tick medication, and beyond that, there are plenty of techniques--like careful yard maintenance--that keep fleas at bay.
  • Ticks. Fleas and ticks are two different creatures, but the problems they cause can be almost identical. However, when it comes to ticks, there is a unique consideration: embedded ticks. These creatures can "burrow" into your pet's skin and spread diseases, cause discomfort, and more, which means that it's crucial to bring your pets to the animal hospital the moment you notice an embedded tick.

Remember, you might like September, October, and November, but the fleas do too; don't let them ruin your autumn plans. If you searched "animal hospital near me" in hopes of finding more information, don't worry--there are plenty more facts and tips waiting for you when you contact us about flea and tick prevention.

Topics: Animal Hospital Near Me

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.

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