You may think that fleas and ticks are only a problem you need to contend with during the spring and summer months, but these pests love to hang around in all weather and wreak havoc on your pets and your home.

Even as the temperature continues to drop here in Chicago we are still seeing an abundance of flea evidence on pets including both flea dirt and live fleas. In addition, taking your dog on a nice long walk through a wooded area on a cool fall day to check out the changing leaves could put your pet at risk for contracting ticks that can lead to Lyme disease and cause harm in other ways.

According to Michael Dryden, DVM, MS, PhD – Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KansasFleas and ticks are more than mere nuisances. They cause distress in dogs and cats and, more important, they cause disease. On-again, off-again preventive programs are not the optimal way to safeguard the health of pets and their families.

By the time a pet owner notices fleas on a pet, the fleas have injected salivary proteins, transmitted infectious agents and begun laying eggs. Ticks can transmit disease agents to a dog or cat before the pests are found and removed.

Clearly, reactive treatments are insufficient to prevent disease in pets and their owners.

Dr. Dryden supports the “Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) guidelines, which call for year-round, lifelong prevention of common external parasites, including fleas and ticks. The guidelines recommend using parasite control methods that consider the lifestyle and health of the pet, managing the pet’s environment, and working closely with owners to prevent infestation and protect the health of the entire family.”

Where many pet owner’s used to stick with a regimen of heartworm, flea and tick prevention that spanned only the spring and summer months, it is crucial that with the changing environmental conditions and weather across the country these days, you are using a quality preventative ALL YEAR ROUND.

Your pets should absolutely be getting a monthly heartworm treatment each month as well as a topical or oral parasite preventative. WANT TO GO NATURAL? There are a variety of new natural topical products available on the market that effectively replace the typical store brands as well including sprays, oils and shampoos.

For more information on which preventatives are best for your pet, check with your vet and for more information on the effect of parasites on your pet and how to prevent infection, check out the Companion Animal Parasite Council website.