From Yappy Hour at the Wonderbar to sipping tea in Catsbury Park, Asbury Park, NJ has a reputation for pet appreciation. Living in this beach town away from dense woods and open fields, pet owners can fall into a false sense of security about fleas and ticks, especially in the wintertime. This myth that cold weather is a pet’s natural safeguard against these parasites doesn’t just apply to small beach towns like AP, but everywhere.
These nasty bouncing, biting buggers can cause your poor pet irritation and infections. These pests are highly resilient to cold weather, and just one flea can cause an infestation. An adult can survive outside in the upper 30˚F and thrive if it has a host—your pet. Fleas can survive on couches, on the café’s outside chair you sit in to have a coffee, or from the Boxer playing in the park with your dog. If a female flea happens to make a home out of your pet’s backside, she can lay up to 50 eggs a day for 3 months. That’s approximately 4,500 eggs that will hatch and grow into adults. Like we said, infestation (think about that next time you see 1 or 2 fleas!).
But surely the eggs don’t survive the winter?!
Aaant. Flea pupae can remain in their cocoons until temperatures are ideal (65-80˚F), even if it takes an entire year. We are pretty sure our assumption is correct that you keep your home heated in the winter, and maybe even have a fire or two. Your ideal temperature is a flea’s favorite too, and when it is reached, those thousands of eggs hatch and literally all hell breaks loose on your furry friend.
AP rock star @bowie_the_tbd does a winter happy dance because her mom & dad make sure nothing “bugs” her all year round!
So long as temperatures hover around 45˚F, ticks are still a treat to pets. The Jersey Shore is currently one of the highest regions in the WORLD for ticks carrying Lyme Disease. These vampire-like bugs are more solitary than fleas, dropping onto a host to feed approximately once a year in their 2-3 year lifespan. Although there may not be as many ticks on your buddy as fleas, they pose a serious threat to your dog or cat’s health. When these parasites bite your pet, they can transmit dangerous diseases, like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. A specific species of tick, known as the “Brown Dog Tick,” favors—you guessed it—dogs. They have adapted to survive in the cool environments dogs live in, like kennels and homes, making your tail-wagger a target all year round.
Although these parasites be but little, they are fierce and are a threat to pets even in the winter months. Fortunately, winter months are when they are least active and fewest in number, making it the best time of the year not only to fight but also prevent against fleas and ticks. Different preventatives like the Seresto collar, Simparica, and Bravecto are the fastest-acting, safest medications and keep those pests at bay for several months.