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Protect Your Dog in Autumn Weather

Reviewed by Missy Beall, DVM, PhD on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Posted October 26, 2014 in Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

As vacations and summer travel come to an end, so do a lot of outdoor activities like going to the beach or lake with your dog. But with cooler weather comes new activities to enjoy with your best friend like hiking, hunting and biking.

Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that summer pests and diseases continue and may even increase through autumn and winter.Dog in puddle Changing climates, urbanization of rural areas, suburban and rural residences all result in regional and local microclimates, sometimes limited to our own neighborhood.

Mosquitoe risks
One of the biggest continuing risks in autumn is vector borne disease. Mosquitoes can be an ongoing pest and health hazard and can expose our dogs to heartworms and us to more exotic diseases such as Dengue Fever, West Nile virus and the latest risk of Chikungunya virus (often called Chick-v). Click here to see what risks mosquitoes pose in your area.

The only disease that we know to be a risk to our dogs is heartworm disease. However, the same mosquitoes that transmit heartworms also transmit these other diseases to humans. Aggressive mosquitoe control is important to protect our dogs and people.

Steps to control mosquitoes:

  • Make sure you do all you can to eliminate mosquitoe breeding places like standing water in flower pots, old tires, bird baths and puddles.
  • To protect your dogs make sure you continue heartworm preventive all year round. Remember, while mosquitoes may die or go dormant over winter, heartworm larvae do not die off when it gets cold.
  • Similarly, microclimates such as sheds, garages and crawl spaces under decks and houses may never reach a temperature cold enough to kill mosquitoes.
  • If you are in an area where mosquito populations are heavy be sure to consider using a repellent. DEET should not be used on dogs. Citrus-based products like citronella can be used safely but should be reapplied frequently.

Flea and tick risks
While most people consider summer to be flea and tick season, in some parts of the country autumn can be one of the worst times for exposure. Don’t let up on flea control just because the weather gets colder! A relatively small population of fleas can explode into a major infestation at the first warm spell. Fleas are always present in rodents and wildlife, which may look for warmer environments in your attic, crawl space or garage. The best approach is to

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Mike has more than 35 years of experience in companion animal veterinary practice and is a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2013.