Some pet parents may think that their pets do not need parasite preventatives during some seasons like winter. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends all-year-round pet parasite protection. Preventative protection helps keep parasites away and keeps your pet healthy. The major parasites to be aware of include heartworm, fleas, and intestinal parasites.
It is tempting to think that the cold temperatures of winter will keep parasites away. But all the parasites need is a warm body to survive. That warm body could be your pet. Here are some reasons to maintain preventative medication all year round.
Ticks and Fleas
It is a common misconception that ticks and fleas cannot survive harsh winter weather. Many of these creatures are resilient and will find ways to stay alive through such weather. Particular tick species and fleas will often remain active during the cold months of the year.
The pupae of fleas can become dormant during winter and active when the weather warms up. It takes a very short time for the fleas to reboot their population. A single mild day is usually enough for this.
If a pet has heartworm disease, it is not allowed to give preventative medication. It is because preventive heartworm medicine has serious side effects on pets suffering from heartworm. So, if you have stopped giving your pet heartworm preventatives, you should first test for the presence of heartworm before you resume the medication. You can easily avoid this testing hassle each year by keeping your pet on preventative medicines throughout the year.
Parasites Cause Disease
Some parasites may come off as a nuisance you must deal with. However, they are usually carriers of nasty infections that may affect your pet. Ticks can cause Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis; fleas carry tapeworms, while mosquitoes carry heartworms. Ensuring that your pet is protected will keep them safe always.
A Warm Body
Most of these parasites only need some warmth to reproduce and complete the life cycle. They will seek out a host, which often is someone’s pet, and get to survive. Sometimes, they can cling to animals like rats or mice and end up on your homestead. They can easily find your pet’s body from the garage or basement. They are usually more aggressive in finding a warm body, especially during the chilly months.
Traveling with your pet exposes it to many environments that may be teeming with parasites. It mainly happens when you go to warmer or more humid geographical areas. Some parasites like mosquitoes prefer warm, humid weather. You should be especially worried about mosquitoes because they spread heartworm disease to animals. If your pet is under preventative medication, they will be safe from the parasites and the disease it causes.
If you always keep your pet on preventative medication throughout the year, you will not have to keep track of multiple dates. You will only need a single day in the month when you administer the medication. Starting the medicine too late or stopping too early may cause your pet to develop a disease.
For more information why preventative medication is essential year-round for pets, contact Bergen County Veterinary Center at our office in Waldwick, New Jersey. Call 201-205-2500 to book an appointment today.