Winter in New England typically brings freezing temperatures, icy roads, and snow-covered yards. The frigid conditions certainly mean that fleas aren’t a danger to your pets this season, right? Wrong! The only thing fleas need to survive is a warm-blooded body as a host, regardless of the weather. Even though fleas without a host can’t withstand cold temperatures for long periods of time, they are crafty little critters and will seek out either a host (dogs, cats, raccoons, rodents, etc) or a warm shelter (your home, garage, or shed). Your dog or cat could be running a flea hotel this winter, and you might not even realize it!
Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body, and range in size from 1/12 to 1/6 of an inch long. They are reddish-brown with six legs, and are found throughout the United States. The most common type of flea is the cat flea, which usually feeds on cats, dogs, and even humans. They live for approximately 100 days, during which each female can produce over 400 offspring.
Statistics show that sales of flea medication for pets drop by nearly 20% in the wintertime, as many people don’t realize the threat of fleas is still alive and well during the colder months. Fleas are a common transmitter of some diseases, and flea bites cause painful, itchy bumps in humans and pets. Therefore, it’s important to take precautions against fleas year-round.
Try these tips!
- Clean and vacuum your home frequently to remove any pet hairs.
- Keep your lawn groomed to deter rodent habitation, as rodents are a common mode of transportation for fleas.
- If any clothes or bedding have become flea infested, either discard, or wash them on the hottest setting with bleach or microbial detergent.
- Groom your dogs and/or cats regularly, visit a veterinarian annually, and apply flea treatment according to direction, even during the winter.
As always, if you need help dealing with a flea infestation, feel free to give Graduate a call.