Do Dogs Need Flea and Tick Medicine in the Winter?
Most people will know that snowbirds are not really birds, and that they are actually retired North Americans who choose to move closer to the equator over the winter. There are certainly real birds that travel further than that and without an airplane or an RV, but there is also no way they are going to live to 65 in the first place. Enough about that, the reason retirees go South is because they don’t like winter. Those of us with pets are more likely to stay up here and tolerate the cold, but can dogs get fleas in the winter? Yes, they can and flea and tick medication may be needed.
Dogs will get fewer fleas in the winter, but it is still entirely possible they do. You will see the telltale incessant and furious scratching that indicates the fleas are biting your dog the same you would in summer. There may be fewer of the parasites there, but just a handful of bites is all it takes. Ticks are a different story, and having a dog get a tick in winter is very unheard of. But fleas, absolutely and so your answer to can dogs get fleas in the winter is yes.
Owners do have the option of applying a topical flea killer solution, but comparisons of oral vs topical flea medications usually come to the same conclusion; a topical flea medication that you drop onto the dog’s skin between the shoulder blades is no less effective, but these days it makes much more sense to give your pet 12 flea chewable tablets and once a month for reliable year-round flea prevention. Nexgard and Simparica are good examples of these types of meds, and for the dogs it is much the same as a tasty snack.
The weather during winter is darn cold pretty much from Coast to Coast and all up and down the length of Canada here, but in the US, there are regions of the country that do not get very cold at all during winter. Dog owners living in these warmer climes may have a different reality for can dogs get fleas in the winter. For example, a dog in Santa Fe, NM is more likely to get fleas in winter than one in Bismarck, ND and we don’t need to explain why.
Fleas are not able to survive in temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 5 days in a row, so even if it is cold enough to eliminate them in 5 days that does not mean they cannot spend a good portion of that time on your pet. But here’s where that may not apply; your dog can bring fleas indoors and then have them living in your home and re establishing themselves on your dog as they please. That is the most common scenario for can dogs get fleas in the winter, but if you use a monthly flea and tick chewable, you’ll be guarding against this no matter what season you’re in.