Fleas and ticks are often seen as a summer problem, but both can show up all year round and it is just as important to keep your pets “visitor free” in the fall. In fact, early fall is one of the worst times for fleas.
Good flea and tick prevention is, thus, a year-round concern. One specific fall concern is leaf piles. Dogs (and cats that are allowed outdoor time) love to play in leaf piles. However, these piles can also be a haven for all kinds of insects, including fleas and ticks. It’s best to sweep them up right away and dispose of them properly. Other garden debris can also attract fleas and ticks. Ticks are also found in tall grasses, so keep mowing your lawn until the grass has become completely dormant. Also, remove dead annuals and other brush debris from around your home.
Throughout the fall, you should check your dog for signs of fleas such as obsessive scratching. The growth of the winter coat can provide a better environment for fleas to hide in. Regular brushing can help deal with fleas and also reduce the amount of itching caused by shedding. If your dog likes to sleep outside in the pleasant fall weather, then make sure to clean their “den” regularly. Remove food and water bowls after use, otherwise, they might attract raccoons and opossums. Wash pillows and upholstery regularly, and resist the temptation to boot an elderly couch out onto the porch for the dogs, as it is likely a perfect flea nest. Check for ticks as soon as the animal comes inside.
Don’t forget your indoor cat either. Indoor cats can get fleas as well, generally hitch-hiking in on other people’s clothes, your dog, or that mouse they helpfully killed for you.
Fall is a time when many owners think the risk of their pets getting fleas goes down. However, that is not necessarily the case. Flea and tick prevention is a year-round thing, and responsible owners make sure to keep their pets safe.