Besides the obvious “ick” factor of fleas and ticks, these pesky parasites can cause a long list of illnesses in your furry pal, ranging from mild itching to life-threatening anemia or rickettsial diseases. And, since Conroe temperatures tend to stay above freezing all year long, there is no bug-free season. These tiny blood-suckers linger all year, ready to make a meal out of your pet—and you—so year-round flea and tick prevention is essential. Check out our answers to the most commonly asked questions about fleas and ticks and their effects on pets.

Question: Don’t bugs die off in the winter?

Answer: Conroe, Texas, is not known for its frigid winters, and many people—and bugs—enjoy the mild winter temperatures. Fleas and ticks can find warm spots to hunker down for the winter in the cold northern parts of the country, too, and will pop forth as soon as temperatures rise above freezing. The pests routinely seek garages, gaps in window screens, and open doors to sneak into your warm living areas, feasting on your pet year-round. Fleas are especially skilled at hiding in furniture, carpet, and your pet’s bedding, waiting for the right conditions to emerge from their eggs or cocoons. They can lie in wait for months in their hardy pupal form, only reaching adulthood when they sense a meal close by. So, you may live in an area with harsh winters, but parasites could still be hiding in your home.    

Q: I need to treat my pet only if I see fleas and ticks, right?

A: Did you know that the adult fleas you can see on your pet are only 5% of the total flea population in your home? The other three life stages—eggs, larvae, and pupae—make up the other 95%, and are waiting to hatch to continue the relentless flea infestation cycle. Plus, many tick species can attach to your pet while in their microscopic nymphal stage, and extremely difficult to spot. Most people are familiar with the engorged adult tick that is easy to find, but not only adult-stage ticks feast on your pet. You may notice some fleas and ticks on your pet, but many more cannot be seen, and if you treat your furry pal only when you notice these sneaky pests, you’re leaving them unprotected and at high risk for a serious illness.

Q: My dog is on flea and tick prevention, so why does my indoor cat need it?

A: Your dog who ventures outdoors is naturally at a higher risk for attracting fleas and ticks, but your indoor-only pets can also host these parasites. You and your dog can carry home fleas and ticks that will then search for another suitable host, possibly latching onto your unprotected indoor cat. To keep your entire furry family safe, administer year-round flea and tick prevention to each pet.

Q: Why does my pet need year-round flea and tick prevention when boarding or attending doggy daycare?

A: By administering year-round flea and tick prevention to your pet, you not only protect them from parasites, but also other pets around them. Most parasite preventives work by killing fleas and ticks once they bite, but some also repel them beforehand. With year-round prevention, you help keep our facility parasite-free and minimize disease.

Q: Why am I still seeing fleas in my home after administering a preventive to my pet?

A: Fleas are an incredibly hardy parasite with a lengthy life cycle, which explains why their entire population does not disappear after your pet’s first preventive dose. At a minimum, quality prevention and environmental treatment takes three solid months to eradicate a flea infestation. The flea life cycle can take a couple of weeks to many months to complete, depending on environmental conditions. Fleas are susceptible to household treatments and pet preventives only in their larval and adult stages, and are mostly impervious to harm in their egg and pupal stages, making treatment difficult without long-lasting products. One month of flea preventive will kill off the adult fleas on your pet, but leave them unprotected from the immature stages still developing. Use a home treatment with a long-lasting residual effect paired with year-round flea and tick prevention for your pet, to completely eliminate a flea infestation and further breakouts.

Q: What flea and tick prevention is best for my pet?

A: So many flea and tick prevention options are available, determining the best product for your furry pal can be difficult. A few of the products our Stone Ridge team recommends are listed here, or you can browse through our online pharmacy

If you’re unsure which flea and tick preventive will best suit your pet’s needs, schedule a consultation with one of our Stone Ridge veterinary technicians or veterinarians. Year-round prevention is crucial for keeping your entire family safe from the serious threats these tiny pests can cause.