‘Tis the FLEAson!
Published December 8, 2021
You may notice fewer bugs outside during the winter, but fleas may stay with you all season long! Since fleas thrive in warmer temperatures, your furry friend and heated home are the prime environments for fleas to stay warm and cozy during the cold winter months.
Here’s what you can do to keep your pet comfy and your home flea-free this winter.
It’s a common misconception that fleas aren’t active during cold weather, so don’t let your guard down as cold fronts roll in.
Fleas enter the home when they latch onto your pet’s fur, usually when your pet goes outside or has a brush with an infested pet. A flea can start laying eggs within 24-36 hours of tagging along and feeding on your pet’s blood, so killing adult fleas before they can reproduce is the first step to preventing an infestation.
Flea preventative prescriptions, whether topical or oral, work by killing fleas that have already bitten your pet. They won’t prevent fleas from snagging onto your pet or biting them. That means, a pet on flea prevention can still bring fleas home and spread them to other pets in the household. It’s just as important for your indoor cat to receive consistent flea prevention as it is for your outdoorsy dog!
Essential Tip: Fleas aren’t the only pests that remain active during the winter. Remember that your pet should receive heartworm prevention during this time as well.
Flea eggs shed from your pet’s coat into your home. Vacuuming your whole home regularly will help you keep a flea infestation at bay. Flea eggs and larvae may not only live in carpets but can also be found between floorboards and tiles!
Additionally, make sure to wash your pet’s bedding and blankets routinely with hot water to kill any eggs that may have shed from your pet’s coat.
Use a Flea Comb
A flea comb is a helpful tool to get a head-start on removing fleas from your pet’s coat. It’s possible you could release fleas and their eggs from your pet’s coat when combing them, so you’ll want to only use a flea comb outside or in an easy to clean area, like your bathtub. Also, keep a bucket or cup with hot, soapy water on hand.
Comb in the direction of your pet’s fur, starting from their head then working back towards the tail. If you come across a flea, remove it and stick in the bucket. Dip the comb in the bucket after every few strokes to remove any eggs and prevent their spread.
Be Careful with Home Remedies
You don’t have to go far on the internet to find some questionable flea remedies. Unfortunately, this advice is usually not very effective and only prolongs your pet’s discomfort. Worst of all, some suggestions could even be dangerous to you and your pets.
Steer clear of any remedy that recommends applying motor oil, essential oils, or garlic to your pet’s coat. All of these are toxic and dangerous to pets.
Another example is diatomaceous earth. While it may kill fleas in the environment, it should never be applied to pets topically. The dust can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled and GI upset if ingested. Due to the environmental risk this type of sand could pose to you and your pet, we do not advice trying this in your home.
We’re Here to Help!
If your pet is experiencing an itchy spell, start with a visit to your veterinarian. A flea infestation may mask additional causes of discomfort, like food or seasonal allergies, skin infections, mites, or other external parasites.
Our Skin Package includes a veterinary exam of the skin, diagnostics to get to the root of the problem, treatment recommendations, and prescriptions for flea prevention and any other medication to help your pet recover, if needed. Our bundled Skin Package is $50 and only $40 when added to vaccines!