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Does My Dog Need Flea Prevention in the Winter?

My husband Josh and I are training for our first 100K ultramarathon! I’m so excited about this, and of course we’ve been running on trails every weekend this fall with our dog Remy regardless of weather.

The fall temperatures in Montana are usually cool enough so Remy is able to tag along on 16-mile runs. We can let him run off leash for hours, and one of my favorite things is seeing him bounding ahead, just being a weimaraner.

My dog Remy running on the trails

Because we do so much trail running with our dog, I need to make sure he’s protected from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. I thought now would be a good time to remind you to ask yourself whether or not your dog needs protection in the fall and winter months.

Obviously, so much depends on where you live, the temperatures and what you and your dog do outside.

This post is sponsored by Ceva Animal Health, the maker of Vectra® 3D for Dogs, a monthly, topical flea and tick preventive.

Vectra® 3D is giving away a 3-month supply (3 doses) of flea and tick prevention to two lucky readers of That Mutt! To enter, just leave a comment at the end of this post.

Does my dog need flea & tick prevention in the winter?

The answer is different for everyone! So much depends on:

  • Where you live and the climate
  • That particular year – is it cooler or warmer than normal?
  • What kind of pests “thrive” in your area normally?
  • Will you be boarding your dog or traveling with your dog?

Climate is the most obvious factor

I’ve lived in three different states with my pets (North Dakota, southern California and Montana) and each area has been significantly different.

When my pets and I lived in North Dakota I really didn’t worry about protecting them from fleas and ticks in the winter. This is because it could literally remain below zero for an entire month at a time!

When we moved to San Diego, I had no idea fleas would be such an issue in December and did not put flea prevention on my dog or cats. Well, let’s just say all three of my pets had fleas that winter. Yes, even my indoor cats! Sorry, guys!

That’s just a reminder that when you move to a new region you should think about what kind of parasite protection your pets might need due to different types of weather and what kind of “pests” thrive in that area.

Another factor: the temperatures for that specific year

Like I said, I typically did not need to worry about fleas and ticks for my dog Ace when we lived in North Dakota. I just never saw them … until we had a strangely mild winter around 2012 where it barely froze and we had no snow.

Well, that spring I saw quite a few ticks on my dog (and on myself!) for the first time ever, even though our activities had not changed. It’s because the winter that year had not been as cold as normal.

Two springer spaniels in the fall
Two of my dog walking clients in Fargo, N.D.

What kind of “pests” thrive in your area?

If you’ve recently moved to a new area, a local vet will be able to tell you whether or not fleas, ticks and heartworm are a concern for your immediate area year-round. Plus, you could always get a second opinion from another vet.

I would ask other dog owners in your area what they recommend, particularly those who visit the same parks and hiking areas as you do. Your local animal shelter workers could share some insight too and so could local dog trainers.

Now that my we live in Montana, the fleas and ticks shouldn’t be an issue for my dog in the cooler months. Some dog owners in this area stay on the safe side and put flea and tick prevention on their dogs all year. I choose to do so only from late spring through early fall.

If you do decide your dog could benefit from flea prevention this fall and winter, one option to consider is Vectra® 3D for Dogs.

Vectra® 3D for Dogs is a monthly topical flea and tick control that kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes before they bite your dog. It also kills and repels biting flies and mites (excluding mange mites).

This is the flea prevention product our vet recommended we use even when my dog Remy was an 8 week old puppy.

(Note that Vectra® 3D is not safe for cats.)

My dog Remy with Vectra 3D for dogs

Boarding, daycare and travel

If you will be traveling with your dog to a warmer climate over the holidays, that could also be a reason to continue flea prevention in the winter. The same is true if you plan to leave him at a boarding kennel or dog daycare at any location.

Some boarding kennels and dog daycares will require all dogs to be on a topical flea prevention. My dog’s boarding kennel “requires” it but they do not ask for proof.

The reasoning behind this makes sense. When traveling dogs from all over the country could be staying at your boarding facility, it’s very possible one of the dogs could have fleas and spread them to others.

This was more of a concern for me when I used to board my senior dog Ace. He had extremely sensitive skin and allergies. One flea bite could lead to problems for him such as “hot spots.”

Here is a short video we made about Vectra® 3D:

Benefits of Vectra® 3D for dogs

Vectra® 3D for Dogs is a monthly topical flea and tick control that kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes (carriers of heartworm) before they bite your dog. It also kills and repels biting flies and mites (excluding mange mites).

Some of the benefits of Vectra® 3D for dogs:

  • Kills and repels fleas and ticks before they bite your dog
  • Kills and repels mosquitoes before they bite
  • Can act as a “double defense” against heartworm (carried by mosquitoes)
  • Prevents all flea stages from developing
  • Repels biting flies, sand flies and mites (excluding mange mites)
  • Easy to apply with its patented application tip
  • Waterproof and quick drying
  • Protects for 1 month

Vectra® 3D for Dogs is available through PetSmart, Amazon and through veterinarians. Click here to learn more.

Note: Do not use Vectra® 3D on cats. Ceva Animal Health makes a separate product for cats called Catego® for Cats.

Giveaway! Win a 3-month supply of Vectra® 3D for your dog!

Update: Congrats to Sue C. and Lori N.

Vectra® 3D for Dogs is giving away a 3-month supply of flea and tick prevention to two lucky readers of That Mutt (one pet per winner). Start using it this fall or save it for the spring, up to you!

To enter, just leave a comment so I know your dog wants IN on the drawing! Let me know, what is the flea and tick situation like in your area? Do you plan to use flea prevention all year?

I’ll choose the two winners at random on Tuesday Nov. 20. I’ll notify the winners by email and announce them here on this post.

By the way, Vectra® 3D comes in multiple size varieties. The picture shows the weight for dogs 56 to 95 pounds but there are options for smaller, medium and extra large dogs too.

Learn more about Vectra® 3D here.

Could your dog benefit from Vectra® 3D?

Let us know in the comments!

Vectra 3D flea and tick prevention for dogs

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Wednesday 27th of February 2019

In Southern States flea problem bothers us even in winter... Thanks for your article, all your blog is a real treasure for all dog-lovers.

Sandy Weinstein

Sunday 18th of November 2018

with all of the deer in my yard, i get lots of the very small ticks, so hard to find, it would be great to have something that would repel them, because they are sometimes the size of a pin head.

Kelly C

Monday 12th of November 2018

I just rescued Meeko last week. Even though the shelter used Frontline Plus, he had fleas and, we found out, flea allergies. I live in Illinois and stop using flea protection in November and start March or April.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 12th of November 2018

Congrats on your new dog!


Wednesday 7th of November 2018

We live in South East. This year it is really horrible here. The flea torture is unbearable. We fight against them whole year long.

Kingsley Felix

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

woow nice post, for now i have a parrot