How to keep fleas off your dog in winter
Monday, 5 February 2018 | Kate
When the weather gets colder the phones at My Itchy Dog start to ring off the hook because all of a sudden our customer’s dogs have fleas. From flea free to beating them off with a stick within a week.
Why your dog get fleas even in winter
When autumn and winter come we batten down the hatches. We crank up the central heating, wrap up in blankets on the sofa, the cat comes in after spending the summer draped on the garden shed roof, and we lock the doors until spring.
This environment is perfect for fleas who like to party. Here’s why:
1. Cats give fleas to dogs
If the cat has been outdoors most of the summer and now is settled on your sofa for the duration any fleas he has are now crossing over onto your dog.
Most of the fleas you’ll find on dogs are in fact cat fleas which have flatter heads making it easier for them to race through your dog’s hair and find the best spot for a feed.
Those fleas are also laying eggs, which accounts for the next reason your dog gets fleas in winter.
2. You have dormant fleas in your home waiting to pounce
The fleas your dog is getting now may well be from the flea pupae which has been lying dormant in cracks in the floor since spring. It really doesn’t matter how house proud you are either. Flea pupae are tiny, there will be thousands of them, and they’re very good at hiding.
The way it works is fleas lay eggs on their host and after 2-7 days the eggs hatch and are now larvae. When your dog stands up the larvae drop off and seek shelter away from the light, preferably in a crack in the floor where they spend a couple of weeks feeding. They then spin themselves into a cocoon, which now makes them flea pupae, then settle down for a good long sleep in nooks and crannies around the house.
Pupae wait for the optimum time to hatch (autumn, winter) giving them the best chance of jumping onto a host (your dog or cat) and living the flea dream – feeding on your dog’s blood, breeding and making more fleas.
3. Foxes pass on fleas too – keep your garden free of them
As winter drags on and food becomes scarce foxes will gravitate towards any home or garden they can find food in. Fox fleas will lay eggs too, the fox will shake them off to be picked up by our pets and brought inside (as if you didn’t have enough going on).
Keep your bins firmly closed, wrap up food waste before you take it outside and even better store your bins out of the garden if at all possible. Don’t leave water or dog treats in the garden either. Plenty of people do, send the foxes somewhere else.
How to keep those fleas out of the house
It’s actually not that hard to get rid of fleas in all their stages of reproduction. If you can, plan ahead a little and give your home an autumn clean before everyone comes in for the duration. Follow the simple tips below and get a routine going.
Have a really good hoover up:
Wash, and spray:
Treat your dog and cat for fleas:
And spring will be here before you know it.
Keep the floors hoovered, wash blankets and bedding, spray daily and feed Billy No Mates. And roll on spring!