When Is Flea and Tick Season?

When Is Flea and Tick Season?

A cat sits outside and scratches itself. Could it have fleas?A cat sits outside and scratches itself. Could it have fleas?
A cat sits outside and scratches itself. Could it have fleas?A cat sits outside and scratches itself. Could it have fleas?

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Table of Contents:

  1. Fleas, Ticks, and Your Pets
  2. States with Year-Round Flea and Tick Seasons
  3. Flea and Tick Season in Other States
  4. Does Your Pet Have Fleas?
  5. Was Your Pet Bitten by a Tick?
  6. Defending Your Pet Against Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are an all-year hazard for dogs, cats, and the people who love them. In certain regions, however, they’re especially active during specific months when the conditions are just right. Sometimes they survive well into the winter months even in spite of dropping temperatures and frost. Pet parents should exercise particular caution during their region’s flea and tick seasons to keep themselves and four-legged family members safe.

Fleas, Ticks, and Your Pets

Your pet’s soft fur makes it a joy to relax beside them on the couch. Unfortunately, it also makes them an appealing target for biting, blood-sucking parasites. Critters like fleas and ticks aren’t just a nuisance. Left untreated, tick bites and flea infestation can cause serious health concerns.

Flea Infestation

Female fleas start laying eggs as soon as they’ve had their first meal of blood. They can go on to produce as many as 2,000 in their lifetime, meaning you’re unlikely to encounter just one solitary flea. Adult fleas require a host, but their eggs and larvae can live inside furniture and carpeting waiting to mature and strike.

Tick Bites

While fleas can only survive with the help of a living, bleeding host, ticks are capable of surviving on their own. They’re especially common in grassy areas characterized by muggy climates. Complications from tick bites include blood loss and anemia as well, as infections like Lyme disease and Cytauxzoonosis, a potentially lethal illness that’s commonly spread in southern states by ticks who’ve fed on infected bobcats.

States with Year-Round Flea and Tick Seasons

If you’re a resident of one of these US states, you’ll need to take precautions against fleas and ticks all year round. You might consider it a rare downside to living in a region with abundant greenery and warm weather.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Washington

Flea and Tick Season in Other States

These states aren’t home to active flea and tick populations all year, but that doesn’t mean pet owning residents are out of the woods. Read on to learn more about pest-heavy times of year in your home state.

February to December

  • Iowa

March to December

  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

April to December

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island

April to November

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

May to November

  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming

May to October

  • Alaska

Does Your Pet Have Fleas?

The most common type of flea affecting America’s pets is the Ctenocephalides felis, commonly known as the cat flea. Both cat and dog owners, however, need to familiarize themselves with methods for avoiding, recognizing, and treating flea infestation.

Symptoms of Fleas in Dogs

According to the ASPCA, you’re most likely to find fleas on a dog’s head, across their abdomen, or around the base of their tail.

Look out for symptoms like these:

  • Excessive scratching, biting, or licking at specific areas of the body
  • Hair loss
  • Pale gums
  • Scabs
  • Visible flea droppings (these should look like small, dark grains of rice)
  • Visible flea eggs (these should look like small, white grains of rice)

Symptoms of Fleas in Cats

It can be a little trickier to identify a cat who’s got fleas. The ASPCA recommends purchasing a fine-toothed flea comb and watching for small, brown specks moving across the cat’s body.

  • Excessive scratching, biting, or licking at specific areas of the body
  • Hair loss
  • Pale lips and gums
  • Scabs
  • Visible flea droppings (these should look like small, dark grains of rice)
  • Visible flea eggs (these should look like small, white grains of rice)

In addition to causing topical allergic reactions, fleas can lead to severe blood loss and anemia as a result of their insatiable appetites. Young puppies and kittens are particularly vulnerable to these complications.

Was Your Pet Bitten by a Tick?

Typically, pet owners can spot ticks with the naked eye. When they first latch onto a host, ticks are only the size of a pinhead, but they grow considerably as they gorge themselves on blood. Careful and prompt removal is essential to avoid tick-borne infection (for you and your pet) and other complications.

Defending Your Pet Against Fleas and Ticks

Talk to your veterinarian about administering pest-prevention products to your pets. Many popular varieties offer protection against both types of parasites. You can take extra precautions against fleas by regularly combing pets, washing their bedding regularly, and keeping areas that pets frequent free of debris like piles of leaves and lawn clippings. Fleas often lay in wait in dark, moist areas like these. If you’re in a tick-heavy area, keep your yard free of tall grass and regularly check pets after trips outdoors. Don’t forget to check yourself and your clothes! Fleas and ticks can move from host to host and the former are particularly known for their ability to leap from target to target.

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