Keeping your pet free of parasites year-round is one of the many continuous responsibilities of pet ownership. Not only can parasites cause chronic and serious illnesses in pets, some can even be transmitted to humans. Winter pet parasite prevention means a healthy pet, healthy family, and a healthy home.
Why Winter Pet Parasite Prevention?
Many pet owners mistakenly believe that once winter rolls around, they can skip a few months of heartworm or flea and tick medication. This couldn’t be further from the truth; fleas, ticks, and heartworm can threaten your pet’s health, regardless of the temperature outside.
Keep in mind:
- Ticks do not die during the winter; they wait in a dormant state, waiting for temperatures to rise.
- Fleas can thrive in the warm and humid environment inside our homes all year long.
- Mosquitoes can hatch and be active at temperatures over 50 degrees, which can easily happen on an unseasonably warm winter day.
Flea pupae (a young stage of development) can survive even the harshest winters by going into a dormant state. The sight of one flea means there are many, many more that you can’t see; infestations can take months to clear up and can make pets sick in the process. Keeping your pet on a year-round flea preventive keeps your pet and home free of these incredibly annoying pests.
Keeping Ticks At Bay
The territory of many disease-causing ticks has expanded immensely in recent years, and with the constantly fluctuating temperatures it’s impossible to determine when and where ticks could hatch.
Winter pet parasite prevention will protect your pets from devastating tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis throughout the year.
The Trouble With Heartworm
Year-round heartworm protection is essential for all pets. Heartworm can take up to 6 months to develop once a pet is infected, so by stopping the treatment too early or starting it too late, you could be leaving your pet unprotected.
Treating heartworm in dogs is expensive and difficult, and in cats the disease is almost always fatal.
Intestinal parasites don’t need to worry about winter weather since they do their dirty work inside your pet’s body. This is especially true if your pet spends time with other animals, such as at dog parks or boarding facilities.
Fortunately, most heartworm preventives also include protection against common intestinal parasites, making an even bigger case for winter pet parasite prevention.
Make It A Habit
A monthly parasite preventive administered year-round is the best protection against these tiny organisms that can inflict so much damage. If you have any questions about winter pet parasite prevention, please give your team at Berkeley Veterinary Center a call.