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Let’s “BUG” a Vet: Can My Pets Get Fleas in Winter?

Spoiler alert: YES! Temps are dropping and we’ve still got snow on the ground St. Louis so it’s a fair, yet incorrect, assumption to think Fido and Rover are home-free when it comes to fleas for awhile. Fleas actually spend most of their lifespan ON your pet, cozying up to their warm skin or under their coat of fur so colder weather doesn’t seem to bother them.
In order to understand why fleas are a year-round issue for our pets, we have to take a little deep-dive into the lifespan of a flea. Enter Blue Chip’s Flea 101: Fleas bite your pets to take a blood meal and to reproduce by laying eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on digested blood that’s been excreted by the adult fleas. This digested blood could be found on your pets; however, it can also have fallen off your pet and be found in carpet, bedding and/or furniture. Good times, huh? (Dear Santa, I’d really love a Dyson vacuum for Christmas. Love, Me) Low, humid conditions inside our houses in the winter present the perfect conditions for the larvae to enter the pupae phase where they can basically chill out for months at a time. All of a sudden…BAM! A slight temperature change (even something as simplistic as carbon dioxide from your pet’s breath) or an environmental change (could be a new light or slight vibration) and, before you know it, the pupae have emerged and are already maturing into adult fleas to start this cycle all over again. (Ready for your midterm exam, now?)
The bottom line remains: If you pet is scratching themselves or biting at their lower half in these winter months, don’t be so quick to assume it’s the same dry skin all the rest of us are experiencing. Fleas can be hard to detect until the number of fleas, eggs and larvae on your pet is in the thousands. To help eliminate this problem, here are a few easy steps to take:
  • Take your pet to your vet as soon as possible for effective treatments that will eliminate fleas as well as treat any medical conditions or infections that have been caused by the itching.
  • Wash your pet’s bedding (or yours if you share a bed) a few times in hot water.
  • Vacuum! Vacuum! Vacuum! Use a vacuum with a bag and throw away the bag promptly each time you vacuum.
  • Don’t waste your time with over-the-counter flea foggers. Not only do they make a mess but they only kill adult fleas, leaving unhatched egg and pupae cases untouched. These eggs and pupae cases will hatch within a 2-week time frame, starting the cycle (and your problems) all over again. Let us know if you have issues with fleas and we’ll come tackle them with our two-step system. This system not only kills the adults but also acts as a growth regulator for any unhatched eggs, breaking the flea life cycle and leaving your home good as new.
Yay! You’ve successfully completed Blue Chip’s unofficial Guide to Fleas in the Winter. Wanna move on to Fleas 201? Click here for Everything Else You Ever Wanted To Know About Fleas! Or give us a call anytime at 636-343-7900. Disclaimer: No official vets on staff but we are experts in fleas…as well as parents to many adorable fur-babies!
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