If you have a dog that spends most of its time romping in your backyard, or a kitty that whiles away the day in a sunny patch on the front porch, winter's arrival may be a rude awakening. Sure, your precious pets are covered in fur. But many just aren’t equipped to be out in frigid temperatures for prolonged periods.
So how can you make sure your four-legged friends are warm and well-cared for when the mercury dips? WebMD talked to veterinarians and pet owners and got their top tips on winter safety...
When should you treat your dog with flea or tick products? It depends on where you live.
Fleas are worst during warm-weather months, but they can live inside your home all year long. Spring and summer are usually the heaviest time for ticks. But they, too, can live year-round in some parts of the U.S.
If you see signs of these pests on your pet, treat them right away. Otherwise, start treatment at the beginning of flea or tick season. Your vet can tell you when if you’re not sure. Some areas require year-round treatment.
Types of Prevention
A number of flea treatments are on the market. Some also prevent ticks or other pests.
The most popular products are pills and the ''spot-on'' treatments that go onto your dog’s skin between his shoulder blades. They work well and are easy to apply. Other products come in the form of dips, shampoos, collars, foggers, and sprays.
1. Check with your vet before you use any flea or tick product. This is key if your dog is:
Taking other drugs
Pregnant or nursing
Allergic to flea products
In these cases, the vet might suggest you use a special comb to pick up fleas, eggs, and ticks. Then drown the pests in hot, soapy water.
2. Follow instructions. Don’t use dog products on a cat, as this could be deadly. Only apply the amount needed for your pet's size. Never double up on products. There’s no need to pair a powder with a spot-on treatment.
3. Wear gloves, or wash your hands with soap and water after you apply the drug. Follow the instructions for proper storage and disposal of packaging.