Fall Flea and Tick Protection for Dogs and Cats: Watch Out For Lingering Pests

Jolene Hansen

After the hot "dog days" of summer, most pets and their humans welcome the arrival of fall. The season's cool, crisp air offers relief, but also triggers activity among ticks and fleas that were subdued by summer's peak temperatures. Ramp up flea and tick protection for dogs and cats in the autumn to meet the season's challenges — and protect your home, family and furry friends.

Why Dogs and Cats Need Flea and Tick Protection in Fall

Just when you thought the year's worst was over, you face a flood of new threats during this season.

During the fall many ticks enter their adult stage and look for larger hosts, including deer, household pets, and people. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, adult black-legged ticks — also known as deer ticks — are most active in autumn.2 These ticks are most associated with the transmission of Lyme disease. Also, deer and other tick- and flea-carrying wildlife are on the move in fall as they search greater distances for food, which increases the risk of contact for dogs and cats.

Rolling around in colorful leaves is great autumn fun. But leaf piles can hide ticks and fleas that spell trouble if your pets go unprotected. Adult ticks are much easier to see than spring and summer's tiny larvae and nymphs. Still, more ticks — and fleas — slip by inspection as pets naturally grow thicker coats to prep for winter.

Your Home Is a Target in Autumn

Fall's cooler temperatures cause outdoor fleas and ticks to look for places where they can find shelter and warmth. Their first choice may be your dog or cat, but your home comes in a close second. Once inside, fleas hide in areas where they can escape notice, such as carpets, drapes, upholstery, and along baseboards. With easy access to pets or people, the cycle of reproduction and infestation sets in fast.

In the fall, pests gather under damp leaf debris along your home's foundation. That's where they can lay eggs or overwinter and reproduce come spring. Although cold temperatures hinder pest activity, snow can act as a blanket that insulates pests from the winter cold. And when warm spring days arrive, ticks and fleas are ready to pick up where they left off.

As University of Florida entomologists note, not all tick species overwinter outdoors.3 Brown dog ticks live throughout the U.S. They can move into your home and complete their entire life cycle indoors, just like fleas. A female brown tick can lay as many as 7,000 eggs. Problems that started in spring or summer can flare into major invasions in the fall.

How to Defend Against Flea and Tick Infestations

As your family starts to hunker down indoors for the cooler weather, the last thing you want is an infestation. That's why preventative treatment is key.

First, focus on your furry friends.

  • Continue checking your pets for signs of fleas and ticks, such as flea dirt or itching, and pay extra attention to their coats as they grow thicker.
  • Keep using an AdamsTM Flea & Tick Collar throughout the fall and into the winter to prevent any new pests from setting up shop on your pets.
  • If you find your dog has fleas, act fast by applying an AdamsTM Spot On® treatment to nip pest problems in the bud.

Next, protect your home.

  • Focus fall housecleaning on out-of-the-way places where fleas and ticks might go unnoticed or undisturbed. Vacuum rugs, clean pet bedding and reach pests with tick and flea treatments designed for indoors.
  • To clear out any lingering summertime fleas or ticks and shield your home before winter arrives, use an AdamsTM Plus Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger.

Finally, protect your yard.

  • Before the first frost sets in, focus on eliminating spots where ticks and fleas hide and overwinter. Rake all around the perimeter of your home and discard all the fallen autumn leaves. Then, mow your lawn, and remove grass clippings and fall leaves.
  • Apply AdamsTM Yard & Garden Spray before pests continue the cycle of infestation through the season.

Ensure your family's protection against fleas and ticks as they begin to move indoors with fall's cool weather. With Adams™ brand products for pets, homes, and yards, you can curl up with your pets as the days get shorter and be ready for a pest-free winter.

  1. Minnesota Department of Health. "Tickbourne Diseases: Ticks," 27 July 2020. https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/tickborne/ticks.html
  2. Tian, Yuexun, Cynthia C. Lord, and Phillip E. Kaufman. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Featured Creatures: Brown Dog Tick," December 2018. https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/brown_dog_tick.htm#top

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