Can Dogs Get Fleas in Winter?
When the weather's colder, all you want to do is snuggle up with your pup. Unfortunately, fleas might want to stay in your warm house too. Do fleas die in the winter? Not necessarily. If you're wondering if dogs can get fleas in the winter, the answer is yes. Flea populations might slow down a bit, especially outdoors, but they don't go away completely. To be safe, you'll want to keep those flea treatments going even in the cold winter months.
Fleas Don't Die Easily in the Winter
Fleas are more likely to die if temperatures hit freezing and stay there for a while.1 But even then, that's not always enough. You can't depend on fleas dying in the winter, even if they're outdoors.
The flea's life cycle helps it survive. A female flea can start laying eggs within 24 to 36 hours of biting your pet, and they can lay up to 10,000 eggs in 30 days. These eggs can then end up in the carpet or other areas in your home. Flea larvae form a cocoon and grow within it as pupae, sometimes staying in a cocoon for up to 30 weeks before emerging as an adult flea.
The cold can slow down a flea's life cycle, but they can still hatch in the winter.2 Even if temperatures hit freezing long enough to kill the adults, those fleas may have already found a warmer place to lay their eggs.
Fleas Might Still Be Active Indoors
One of the warmer places that fleas might "flea" to during the winter is your home. Even though fleas may slow down a bit when it's cold outside, they could still be active and on their regular life cycle indoors. A temperature of 70–85°F at a humidity of 70 percent provides the ideal conditions for fleas to thrive, so they might hide in warmer environments when it's colder.3
You don't likely keep your home cold enough to slow the fleas down. So if you stop flea treatment in the winter, you might be giving them a chance to get a foothold in your house.
It's Easier to Prevent Fleas than to Get Rid of an Infestation
It's a lot easier to prevent fleas than to get rid of an infestation.4 Because fleas are so tough and reproduce so fast, they can often infest your home or backyard before you realize what's happened. Fleas also cause other problems, like tapeworms.
Because of this, it's best to treat for fleas all year round, not just during the warmer months. Since the adult fleas that live on your pet comprise only five percent of the total flea population in and around your home,5 you shouldn't limit your treatment to your pet. Treating your pet's environment is also recommended for faster control of an infestation.
Flea Treatment Options
Your flea treatment should encompass not just your pet, but your home and your yard too.
Treat your dog with flea and tick shampoo and a protective collar. Adams Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo kills adult fleas and prevents eggs from hatching for 30 days. The Adams Flea & Tick Control Collar for Dogs can protect your dog for up to seven months, which is especially helpful if your dog goes outside a lot.
You might also want to try a topical treatment. Adams Flea & Tick Spot On for Dogs is a treatment that prevents fleas and ticks from "re-infesting" your dog for up to 30 days. Talk to your veterinarian if you need advice specifically tailored for your pup.
Next, consider treating your home for fleas. There are many options, like indoor foggers, carpet spray, and home spray. It is important to treat your home since fleas will use your home as a shelter during the winter.
Consider treating your yard too. Adams Yard & Garden Spray can kill fleas in all their life cycles and protect the yard, garden, and shrubs for up to four weeks.
Even in the winter, you should continue treating your dog, home, and yard for fleas. Dogs can easily get fleas in the winter because the little bugs might take shelter in your warmer home to help them survive. If you want to be extra prepared, sign up for alerts to learn when there's a flea outbreak in your region.
- lfenbein, Hanie. "Do Fleas Die in the Winter?" PetMD, 4 November 2019, https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/do-fleas-survive-winter
- Washingtonian Staff. "Can Dogs Really Get Fleas in the Winter?" Washingtonian.com, 28 January 2015, https://www.washingtonian.com/2015/01/28/can-dogs-really-get-fleas-in-the-winter/
- Kvamme, Jennifer. "Understanding the Flea Life Cycle." PetMD, https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_multi_understanding_the_flea_life_cycle