While it’s true that flea, tick and mosquito activity spikes during the spring and summer, they can cause health issues for your pet year-round.
Though they pose a much lower risk during colder winter months, by the time spring rolls around, parasites like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes may already be in full bloom. Not only can these parasites impact your pet’s health by stealing their nutrients, but they can also pass on diseases and other infections like Lyme disease or heartworms.
Certain areas of the U.S. face higher disease and infection risks than others, and at different times throughout the year.
Flea Season Has No Off-Season
Though fleas may be less prevalent during colder months, there is technically no season in which your pet is not at risk of contracting fleas. As long as they have a warm host to live on, like your family pet, fleas will make themselves at home no matter the time of year.
Content supplied by American Kennel Club: “What’s Your State’s Flea-and-Tick Season?"1
When Is Flea Season?
Fleas tend to be more active during warmer months. They favor humid weather and temperatures from 60-69° F – which can be as early as late February in some parts of the U.S. and during a fall “second season” throughout the country.
However, even if the outside temperature is inhospitable to fleas, if you keep your house at a temperature around or higher than 60-69° F, your indoor pet is at risk of fleas.
Where Are Fleas Found?
Fleas are found in places where you and your pets spend the most time, such as pet beds, furniture and carpets. Hitchhiking fleas can hop a ride on people and pets as they move in and out of your house. And once on a pet, fleas lay eggs, which can quickly develop into an infestation.
What Can You Do to Protect Against Fleas?
Wash bedding and vacuum floors and furniture regularly to help keep fleas from taking up residence in your home. Another great way to help prevent an infestation on your pet or in your home is to routinely use flea prevention products. You can find many effective products that fit your lifestyle at local and online pet specialty retailers.
Ticks Are Always in Season
On their own, ticks live and breed in temperatures above 40° F. Several tick species are active all year long, regardless of temperature. Ticks transmit a variety of harmful diseases that affect pets and people alike, making year-round prevention essential.
Content supplied by Kansas State University CVM ITC. M.W. Dryden, DVM, PhD, and P.A. Payne, DVM, PhD; 2016.
When Is Tick Season?
Tick season typically runs from mid-spring through late fall. Peak tick season varies depending on where you live in the U.S. and the types of ticks most prevalent in your area.
Where Are Ticks Found?
Ticks hang out where they can easily feed on live animals, usually wooded areas and grassy spots like your own backyard, a park, on hiking trails or in the woods or fields as well. Ticks cling to tall blades of grass or lower-hanging foliage until they can attach themselves to passing animals.
Tick Disease Risks: Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
Common diseases spread by ticks vary based on season and location. Ticks are known to spread dangerous diseases like Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a fairly common disease in dogs and is most commonly found in the Northeastern U.S. and upper Midwestern U.S., where it is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), as well as along the Pacific coast, where it is transmitted by the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus).
Ticks can also spread ehrlichiosis, a bacterial disease transmitted to dogs by the brown dog tick and American dog tick. Found throughout the U.S., the brown dog tick typically resides in warmer climates, but also commonly is found indoors.
Pets in the northeastern U.S. can also be at risk for contracting anaplasmosis, a bacterial disease spread by the back-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. Anaplasmosis is common in late spring through early fall and appears in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Additionally, dogs in Northern California have also tested positive for it.
What Can You Do to Protect Against Ticks?
Because ticks love long grass and low-hanging bushes, keep your yard mowed and your foliage trimmed. Treat your yard with products that kill ticks in and around your home, deck and patio. Ticks can be found in urban areas as well, commonly in planters, trees and parks. Check your pet for ticks on a regular basis and get in the habit of doing daily tick checks when tick activity or your pet’s outdoor access is higher.
Find prevention products at local or online pet specialty retailers, and then remember to apply them properly and routinely.