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Posted on Monday, October 15th, 2012

Staying Vigilant to Protect Your Dog from Fleas & Ticks This Fall

Photo Credit: Casey Reid
Photo Credit: Casey Reid

The early weeks of fall are some of the most beautiful times of year in many parts of the country, which means that many dog owners will be enjoying the great outdoors with their companions. Unfortunately, autumn is a peak time of year for fleas and ticks, who will be looking for one last meal before the temperatures take a significant dip in the coming months.

Fall weather, in most climates, will not produce temperatures frigid enough to eliminate fleas. Fleas are slowed down only if the humidity drops to extremely low levels and remains there for days. Cold weather alone will kill eggs, larvae, and adults only if the temperature remains below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period. Therefore, if you live in the southern portion of the U.S. you ultimately remain at risk for flea infestations year round, while northern climates are susceptible through fall months, and even winter months if a moderate climate persists. If you’re a pet parent, these insects are a constant concern throughout the season, so take the following tips to heart to develop a pest management system and keep pests in check.

1. Use monthly flea and tick products. Chances are, you’ve been using topical drops and other anti-parasite products during the summer, so keep this going throughout the early fall as well. One of the best products at your disposal is Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs and Puppies. These drops are placed at the skin level of a dog’s neck and down the length of the back to the tail and will kill fleas, brown dog ticks, deer ticks and repel mosquitoes for up to 30 days after application.

2. Perform visual checks. If you decide to go on a hike or even a short walk around the neighborhood, consider taking a closer look at your dog’s coat if he or she wanders into a wooded area. According to DogChannel.com, ticks typically hide on long grasses and trees, which could make your dog very susceptible to picking them up. When you return home, take a closer look at your dog’s neck, stomach and leg to see if any ticks have become impacted.

3. Cleanup & treat your yard. Before the leaves completely fall, make an effort to use a weed whacker and clear away any long grasses or brush where fleas and ticks could be present. Ticks prefer long grasses where they can sit and attach themselves as hosts go by, and flea eggs can be found in everything from animal feces to leaves, so make an effort to clean up as much of your yard as possible in the early fall.

Once your yard is to your liking, it may be wise to treat your yards against the very insects you’re trying to prevent. Hartz® UltraGuard®Yard & Kennel Spray is a great choice for any dog owner and attaches directly to your hose and will treat an area up to 8,000 square feet. This will kill fleas and ticks at any stage of their life cycle and keep them from coming back throughout the season. Use it in areas where your dog spends the majority of his time, and pay special attention to the tree line around your yard to remove any of the parasites that might be present.

4. Removing a tick effectively. When your dog does happen to pick up a tick, there is a specific process to remove it. According to Natural-Wonder-Pets.com, use tweezers to grab the head of the tick and lift straight out without twisting it. Place the tick into rubbing alcohol to kill it, and then treat the area on your dog’s skin where you removed the bug with antiseptic. Ticks can pose a risk of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, dog fever and a variety of other diseases that could be dangerous to your pet and your family. By staying on top of your parasite care and staying vigilant during the fall season, you can keep your dog safe in the coming months.

It is important to understand that household warmth can keep undetectable flea larvae and pupae alive for months, allowing them to emerge into an adult state in the coldest of climates when conditions are perceived as ripe for survival (i.e., the organism detects vibrations indicating that a host is nearby). Maintaining a system of year-long protection is the best means of preventing pet or home flea infestation. If your home does become infested, you can use products designed to treat and prevent further infestation, such as Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Home Spray and Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Carpet Powder.

Need help finding the right product for your pets? Visit our Flea and Tick Care Station on Facebook for a customized pet protection plan that your pet deserves.

This content is provided by the pet wellness experts at Hartz. We offer complete flea and tick protection for your pet, home and yard.