When the winters get as cold as they do here in Michigan, it is tempting to ditch the monthly parasite preventatives and save a few bucks. After all, fleas, ticks, and heartworm transmitting mosquitoes aren’t around in such frigid temperatures, right?
Despite living in an area when the temperatures dip below zero frequently, year-round pet parasite prevention is as important as ever. Here’s why:
Temperatures Are Not Predictable
While most winters are quite cold here, sometimes temperatures can fluctuate unpredictably. Mosquitoes can be active at temperatures over 50 degrees. Likewise, fleas and ticks do not die during the winter and, instead, lay dormant in wait. Just a few unseasonably warm days can make your pet parasite prey, if he or she is not on a parasite preventative.
Take the chance and guesswork out of your pet parasite prevention program by protecting them year-round.
While fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes may not be very active in the winter months, some types of intestinal parasites are. This is particularly true if your pet is boarded, goes to dog parks, or is around other animals.
Don’t forget that your heartworm preventative is probably protecting your pet from these types of parasites as well, making it vitally important to your pet’s health all year long.
Mounting a Battle Against Fleas
Once you see one flea, you are already fighting a losing battle. One flea can lay 50 eggs per-day, and by the time you notice that they are on your pet or in your home, chances are those little buggers have already laid more eggs than you can count.
Contrary to popular belief, fleas do not die during the cold temperatures, they simply become dormant. And they are alive and well in warmer areas such as your home or on other animals, despite the temperature outside. All it takes is a chance encounter with a rabbit in your yard or a trip to a friend’s house, and you have a problem.
By keeping your pet on year-round flea prevention, you don’t have to worry about your home becoming infested.
Monthly heartworm protection is essential for your pet. Many owners who stop administering it in the winter either stop treatment too early, or start it up again too late, to adequately protect their pets.
Also, some strains of heartworms have been identified that may need to be exposed to repeated doses of heartworm prevention before they die. If your pet misses a dose or two, you risk allowing this deadly parasite to gain a foothold.
Making a Habit of Pet Parasite Prevention
Like it or not, people are creatures of habit. By administering your pet’s preventatives once a month, every month, you are more likely to remember. Skipping doses intentionally can allow you to slip out of the habit, making it more likely that your pet will go unprotected during a critical time.
Year-round pet parasite preventative should be use as just that – a year-round preventative. Allowing your pet to become infested with any parasite before treating is not an effective or economical option. Oftentimes treating these organisms is costly and can have side effects for your pets.
By utilizing a monthly preventative, you can often entirely avoid having to deal with these nasty little beasts. Ask your veterinarian about what parasite products are recommended for your pet.