Vets warn that fleas and ticks can hitch a ride on furry friends even in cold weather

WSBT 22 photo

The lack of snow and warmer temperatures has a lot of us heading outside.

Many people are bringing their dogs to the parks.

Veterinarians say ticks and fleas are still a problem -- and this warm weather doesn't help.

Pet owners may not think their pets are at risk during the winter. Vets say the belief that snow and cold kills all is a myth.

They look nasty in a jar, but a tick looks even worse on one of your pets.

Katie Chamberlin from Morris Animal Hospital says the cold doesn't bother the pests.

“Fleas do need a little bit more humid and warmer weather to really see the great numbers of reproduction they can do,” said Chamberlin, “but they can still be living in cold temperatures, same as ticks. They don’t go away.”

That's why Chamberlin says they are still seeing cases, including some ticks carrying Lyme Disease.

“Just within the last week alone we have had probably a handful of cases of fleas,” said Chamberlin. “Just last week we removed a tick from indoor cat only."

Helen Calvin isn't taking that risk: She has Piper on a year-round treatment.

“Checking her for ticks and fleas on a regular basis just ensuring that the medication continues to work,” said Calvin.

Chamberlin says a lot of people don't treat their pets during the winter because of the misconception.

Jeana Marren says she only knew because her sister-in-law is a vet tech.

“That’s definitely not something I want to deal with anytime of the year but especially when I’m inside with them, I’d rather not have fleas or ticks,” said Marren.

Chamberlin says all it would take is a few minutes for a flea or tick to hitch a ride back inside.

“Once they are indoors and they have a mate, they are going to start to reproduce and they find all the tiny crevices in your carpet and behind your furniture to make a nice home,” said Chamberlin.

That's why she urges people to treat pets year-round before you cuddle up next to one of them at night.

“Prevention isn’t just important because you think they are gross looking -- it’s important for health aspect as well,” said Chamberlin.

She says even if there was a heavy snow fall, it's not a safety blanket.

Once the snow melts, the pests don't take long to reappear.

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