News and tips from FleaMail’s founding Vet, Dr Evan Shaw.
Don’t think you need to flea your pet in winter? Think again!
Did you know that winter is one of the worst times for fleas, mites and ticks in New Zealand.
Vet clinics are full of parasite cases because many pet-owners think these nasties simply “disappear” during winter and stop protecting their pets.
Sadly, these parasites don’t just disappear when it gets cold …or board a cruise ship to the Bahamas.
Instead, they find the next best thing. Your pampered pets nice warm home which creates the perfect environment for them to thrive all year round.
In winter, Fleas use your home to breed.
It’s lovely waking up to a warm heated home in winter, but consider the environment you’re creating.
It’s not just your dog or cat’s bed, like most parasites, fleas are attracted to the warmth and your home can quickly become the perfect place for breeding. Eggs laid in summer or autumn can continue to develop through winter.
A single Flea outbreak in winter can take months to stop.
Because fleas lay eggs as part of their life cycle, these eggs then hatch during winter and the immature fleas thrive in your mattress, your carpets, your furniture and more. 95% of any flea infestations are made up of eggs and immature developing fleas, not the adults. The adults then move onto the pets.
Fleas are also quite happy to live in temperatures over 8 degrees, so freezing them out is also impossible in New Zealand. An adult female flea can also lay up to 50 eggs per day. Gross!
Once you get a flea outbreak, it can take up to 3-months to stop the cycle!
At this stage, you might want to consider that Bahamas cruise ship. Just be sure to burn all of your clothes and take a chemical bath before boarding the ship to not take the outbreak with you.
Luckily for us, only ADULT fleas infest dogs and cats.
This means, that if you keep up your pet’s parasite-protection during winter (for fleas and other parasites like mites), you can avoid them breeding – and avoid an outbreak.
That’s why protecting your pet year-round is so important.
How common are Flea outbreaks in winter?
Our Vets would estimate that around 30% of all untreated pets (and homes) are affected by Fleas in winter. They need to go somewhere, so why not your nice warm home. Other NZ clinics quote figures like 65% of untreated cats, and 47% of untreated dogs show signs of fleas during the winter month.
And yet more than 20% of pet owners stop treating their pets in winter thinking they’re in the clear. It’s a terrible misconception by New Zealanders. Fleas and other parasites survive EU, UK and US winters. Why not here, too.
Ticks and mites share similar winter traits too, and that’s why a comprehensive plan matters. We’d recommend FleaMail as it’s super simple, affordable and delivered to your door each month when due.