Does My Dog Really Need Flea and Tick Medicine in Winter?
Source: Kristian Niemi
With the holidays approaching, many of us will start curbing our spending habits to make up for the extra stress on our bank accounts. Between buying gifts, traveling to visit family, and hosting parties, the expenses can really add up. As you review your budget and think about where you can cut costs, you may start to question whether your pup really needs flea and tick medicine during the chilly winter months. Spoiler alert: She does!
We don’t blame you for being suspicious, though. After all, your dog won’t be spending much time outdoors once the temperature dips and the sidewalks are covered in snow. Not to mention, this is the time of year when birds fly south, bears hibernate, and all living things die, freeze, or go into hiding. Fleas and ticks should be included – right? Not necessarily.
Even though Chicago is notorious for it’s bitterly cold winters, most veterinarians still recommend year round flea and tick prevention. Why? You may be surprised to learn that fleas can live outdoors in temperatures as low as 33 degrees for up to five days. This allows plenty of time for a few sneaky ones to latch onto your dog during a mid-winter walk, come into your home, and thrive in the warmth. Another not-so-fun fact: Flea eggs can live year round in protected areas like crawl spaces and porches. Yuck!
Unfortunately, ticks are also pretty resilient in the winter and become active again if the temperature exceeds 40 degrees. This means you’re putting your pup at risk for attracting some unwelcome visitors on those “balmy” winter days when you want to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. So, what’s a dog owner on a budget to do?
While you may be tempted to take a break for a few months until the ground begins to thaw, there are other money-saving methods you can pursue that won’t leave your dog unprotected from these harmful pests. For one, don’t order your dog’s flea and tick preventative directly from your veterinarian. You can almost always find it cheaper online, and many suppliers offer a discount if you buy a six- or twelve-month supply at once.
The bottom line: Though the chances of your pup getting fleas or ticks in the winter are considerably lower than in the warmer months, it’s best to keep her protected all year long. When it comes down to it, the costs of treating your dog and cleaning your home after a flea or tick infestation are much more expensive than paying for medication to prevent the problem in the first place.