One of the biggest faux pas you can make as a dog owner is thinking that ticks and fleas are only a threat to your dog during the summer. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), New Jersey dogs are at high risk for three of the most common tick borne diseases year-round. The common mistake that most people make is assuming that since it is winter and it’s cold and snowy outside, ticks and fleas aren’t a cause for concern. However, ticks and fleas can survive during the winter months and your dog is at risk all year round. Being a responsible pet owner means being informed and taking the steps necessary to ensure that your dog is protected.
There is a broad spectrum of preventatives on the market that are listed for year-round use, but there are also other ways to prevent ticks and fleas. Avoid tick-infested areas such as high grassy areas and swamps whenever possible, and do your best to prevent ticks in areas near your home. Modify the habitat around your home through basic measures such as keeping shrubbery and grass closely clipped. This discourages both tick populations and the wildlife species that often harbor them from flourishing.
Inspect your dog whenever you bring them inside from walks in wooded and brush areas, even during the winter months. Keep an eye out for particularly small ticks, which are known to carry diseases. Removal of all ticks and fleas should be done properly and promptly. Check your dog for both bugs throughout the year, as fleas and ticks can survive in the cold.
As a responsible pet owner, it is important to know what diseases and parasites are common in your area. The CAPC has great Parasite Prevalence Maps which help you determine what to look for and to prepare for any major causes for concern.
Tick-borne illnesses are preventable; educate yourself on the illnesses associated with fleas and ticks and take the steps necessary to prevent your dog from getting them.