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What to Expect with Fleas, Ticks and Climate Change

Climate change affects everyone, including our pets. In an alarming but informative PetMD article called “Does Climate Change Impact Flea and Tick Populations?” we learn what to expect with fleas, ticks and climate change. It’s not pretty.

How Fleas, Ticks and Climate Change Touches All of Us

fleas, ticks, climate change

Wyatt in his natural flea and tick habitat in Colorado.

Fleas and ticks are always a concern for pet parents. When you’re dealing with cancer too, deciding how to fight these nasty parasites is a constant struggle. Not long after Jerry got osteosarcoma, we opted out of any topical flea and tick medication. His body was already weakened by cancer and we didn’t want to risk harming it further by applying chemical pesticides to his body.

We always used all-natural flea and tick control for Tripawds Spokesdog Wyatt Ray, but times are changing. Last summer our best efforts to control ticks failed. It was the worst tick season we endured in Colorado. It’s a miracle none of us contracted any of the diseases carried by the little bloodsuckers. The question that’s constantly on our minds is:

What’s the greater risk: developing cancer from a toxic pesticide applied to Wyatt Ray’s body? Or contracting a potentially life-threatening disease from the ticks?

After reading the PetMD article, we decided to stop taking chances and use a topical parasite preventive. Here’s why:

“As the climate heats up, it’s become less unusual to find record-hot days in traditionally cold months like November and December, which means that ticks and fleas are finding the world a more hospitable place and our dogs, cats and small animals (like rabbits) have better odds of catching diseases spread by fleas and ticks.”

The article goes on to explain how each year new records are shattered around the globe as summers intensify and winters become warmer. As a result, climate change appears to be affecting ticks more than fleas, says Thomas J. Daniels, PhD., an associate research scientist at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station.

“Naturally, if flea and tick season – warmer months like summer and fall – lasts longer, the odds increase that your pet could catch a disease. The season is lengthening . . .”

To be clear, Wyatt Ray doesn’t have cancer. If he did, I’m not sure what we would do. Through the years we’ve shared ideas to fight fleas and ticks naturally, so I’m sure we would just resort to those methods. But now we’ve opted to use an all-in-one parasite topical called Revolution. We aren’t thrilled about using it and feel guilty with each drop we apply, but the peace of mind we’re getting is more than going without.

How do you fight fleas and ticks?

Spring is upon us and the bloodsuckers are getting ready to pounce. Maybe if we all put our heads together we can come up with sure-fire ways to fight fleas and ticks this summer. Feel free to share your ideas here or in the Tripawds Discussion Forums so we can learn from one another.

More Thoughts and Ways to Fight Flea and Ticks Naturally

The Flea Dilemma for Cancer Dogs
Natural Flea and Tick Protection for Cats and Dogs
Try Natural Flea Protection with Wondercide
Fight Fleas Naturally with Cedar Oil
Heartworm Infections Can Happen in Winter

4 Responses to “What to Expect with Fleas, Ticks and Climate Change”

  1. What I was told by my vet (Bruce Fogle) is that so long as ticks are removed within 24 hours, they are extremely unlikely to have time to transmit disease. Many of the spot-on treatments etc. do not actually prevent ticks attaching but just kill them within that time period. So… what I do (and granted, it’s labour intensive) is check over my girls with my fingers after every walk, and again in the evening, and remove any ticks with an O’Tom Tick Twister http://www.otom.com/en/ These little devices are brilliant and make removing (complete) ticks easy. I keep one in my car, one in my bag, in the house, etc.
    Meg is FAR more prone to ticks than Elsie, because of her behaviour (burrowing through the undergrowth) and her soft undercoat. I must have literally removed hundreds from her over the years, but none of us have ever caught anything. That said, Lyme disease is not prevalent here, though I understand it is on the increase.

  2. You are an awesome parent Clare! I’ve seen the tick twisters and Michelle told me she uses them too. I love how disciplined you are at using it!

  3. This is so timely and helpful! As someone who rarely goes to places with ticks … I know they are more and more prevalent as Jasper and I enjoy more and more forests that allow dogs. Also with our upcoming trip to the east coast, this was my first concern. Jasper has always been on an oral flea treatment (comfortis) as her angel sister Shelby was also on it. I felt better about the pills than the topicals but I am sure they are still not the best.

    I was able to get Jasper on some flea/tick meds for our trip and heart worm meds. Shelby was always on heart worm meds when we lived in the south and I am seeing more and more mosquitoes in southern CA where I had not. I am sure this will be the next conversation for our vet moving forward. I love our vet but he isn’t always on the same page with me in regards to meds. Jasper is on heartworm now too (in anticipation of the east coast trip). And thankfully Michelle is bringing a tick-key and will check JL out for me!

  4. I do my best, but I’m quite sure I miss some, especially when they’re tiny and have latched onto a slow blood supply 🙁 I’m sure there have been a few that stayed on longer than 24 hours.

    To be fair, ticks carry far fewer diseases here than they do both in mainland Europe and in parts of the US. We are very lucky in that respect. If we lived in a higher risk area, I might have to rethink this approach.

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