Winter is coming but that doesn’t mean fleas are heading south! Here in California, fleas love our climate so much, they stick around all year long! But this isn’t just a Californian problem, fleas can be as active during those snowy winters as they are in summer. So how can you protect your dog from fleas even in the harsh, winter months?
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Using a flea preventative
Most pet owners turn to a monthly topical flea preventative to protect their pets from fleas and ticks. Flea preventatives such as Advantage, Frontline, and K9 Advantix can be purchased at your local pet store. Other preventatives such as Revolution, Comfortis and Trifexis must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Pick a date and mark your calendars each month so you know when to apply the preventative. Some of the flea preventatives will come with stickers to apply to a calendar making it easy to remember when your dog’s next dosage is due.
To apply, part the hair between your dog’s shoulder blades, and apply the full, appropriate dosage directly to the skin. If you have given your dog a bath, it is best to wait at least one day to apply the topical flea preventative. The medication absorbs into the oils of your dog’s skin, and when your Fido gets a bath, these oils are washed away! Allow some time for the oils in the skin to reabsorb. After application, it is best to wait at least a week to bathe your dog.
Have more than one dog in the house? Make sure you have a flea preventative for each dog that is appropriate to their size. Do not divide treatments amongst all pets in the house. Although this may seem economical cost-wise, your pets may not receive the sufficient dosage needed to protect them from fleas and ticks. Even worse, your pets can get sick if they receive too much. NEVER apply a canine flea preventative to cats. If you have cats in the household, make sure you have a feline flea and tick preventative appropriate for their size.
Read all instructions from your flea preventative and consult with your veterinarian before applying. Have a dog with sensitive skin? You can find oral flea flea and tick preventatives and even soy-based preventatives at your local vet.
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The winter season is here and my dog still has fleas?!
It’s snowing outside. You crank up the heat and bundle up on the sofa with a hot cup of cocoa and for some reason, your dog is still itching. Believe it or not, fleas can and do survive during the winter months. But where? Fleas need a warm and humid environment to breed and survive–and what better place than indoors?!
Make sure you are treating the house in areas where your pets hang out most. Wash their dog beds, and vacuum the carpets, sofa cushions, and rugs. You can even place a flea collar inside your vacuum bag and vacuum that way–this will help kill the pesky fleas living in the carpet and upholstery (they love it in there!). Make sure you throw out the vacuum bag afterwards. There are several pet- and plant-friendly cleaning supplies that target flea cycles that you can find at your local pet store.
As we prepare for snow days, hot cocoa, and the holidays, make sure your dogs are protected during the winter season too!