Don’t get sucked into believing that falling temperatures also mean a fall in flea, tick, and mosquito populations. While it’s true that some of these blood-suckers die off over the winter, they’re often highly active during autumn—especially ticks. Here are five ways to help battle fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, even during the fall:
#1: Don’t give up on grooming
As winter approaches, with its frigid temperatures and frosty precipitation, you may cut back on your pet’s grooming. Short summer cuts designed to keep your furry friend cool are a thing of the past until next spring. In addition, thick undercoats shed less as pets gear up for winter, so grooming sessions tend to occur less frequently. But, fleas and ticks may take advantage of fewer comb-throughs and set up shop on your pet, where they are much harder to see than when they are scurrying through your pet’s short fur or latched onto her skin when you are brushing her daily or weekly.
As the hot season fades into fall and your pet’s fur grows out, detecting fleas and ticks is more challenging. Your pet may seem to require less upkeep, but continue the grooming sessions, because frequent brushing will help you catch fleas, ticks, and any abnormalities. Pay particular attention to your pet’s tail base, ears, groin, armpits, and under the collar, as fleas and ticks like to lurk in these spots.
#2: Load up leaf litter
Kids and pets love to jump and play in huge leaf piles, but have you ever considered what’s lurking within? If you think it’s cool enough to skip parasite prevention, your pet may be unarmed in her pile of fun. Fleas, ticks, and many other insects make their home in decaying leaf litter, which provides warmth, shelter, and occasionally sustenance, and they may attack your pet’s warm body when disturbed.
Removing leaf piles from your yard is preferable, but if you can’t resist the sight of your kids and pet frolicking in autumn leaves, ensure you administer parasite prevention year-round and check thoroughly for fleas and ticks after their outdoor fun.
#3: Learn about the life cycle
Many people think insects die off over the winter. While some insects thankfully perish with falling temperatures, many more use their strong survival skills to make it through the winter. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes can slip into your warm home or heated garage and ride out the cooler weather. Fleas are exceptionally hardy and can survive inhospitable climates easily. A flea in its pupal form can hang out for months—or as long as a year—inside its protective cocoon, and burst forth as an adult when temperatures rise, ready to make a meal out of your pet. Knowing how your enemy lives can help prevent any parasites from gaining a foothold in your home and on your pet.
#4: Search for defective screens
Opening the windows to allow a burst of fresh fall air into your home is wonderful, but first, check your screens carefully. Are they still in the correct place with no visible holes, tears, or gashes? If your open windows are letting in more than the smells of bonfires and falling leaves, you may need to keep them shut tight. Insects can easily slip through tiny tears in your screens, seeking the warmth of your home and your pet.
#5: Don’t fall for falling temperatures
Winters, and even fall conditions, can turn downright frigid in Illinois, but that’s no reason to stop giving your pet her flea, tick, and heartworm preventive. Our weather can turn 180 degrees with little warning, turning from summer to winter over several hours. The opposite can also happen, and if the temperature rises above 35 degrees, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes will be on the prowl for a meal. Since our weather patterns are so unpredictable, why gamble on your pet remaining parasite-free throughout the cooler months?
Stick to your normal schedule of flea-, tick-, and heartworm-preventive administration to ensure your pet is protected year-round. It’s easy to fall off track when you skip a month or two, thinking it will be chilly enough to prevent insect movement, but then you may forget to start back up again when the weather is nicer. Stay safe with our recommended prevention products, and stock up by stopping in at one of our locations.