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How to protect your dog from a hidden danger this winter

Prepare your pets for the colder months ahead.

While we all take extra care to protect ourselves and our families from colds and flus throughout the colder months, there's often something else we tend to overlook. Autumn and winter are an opportune time for fleas to find a home on your pets and infest your house, making life not so fun for you or your furry friend.

Dogs in particular naturally grow their undercoat for a little extra warmth at this time of year, creating the perfect opportunity for fleas to find themselves a snug little home. As you bring your pets inside to escape the cold, you could be welcoming their unwanted little friends along with them.

Dog and family on couch
Winter provides the perfect environment for fleas to nest in your home, so treating your dogs is a must. Photo: Getty

Unfortunately, fleas love a well-heated living space just as much as you do. It offers them the perfect breeding ground, where they can go undetected for months as they make themselves right at home in your carpet, couch or rug.

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But there are some steps you can take to keep both your home and your pets flea-free. The key is doing them all together rather than attempting one or another.

Here's how to stay keep your pets happy and healthy this winter.

Do a thorough clean

While you will need to treat your cat or dog if you find fleas, you'll also need to give all their pet beds, blankets, toys, and the areas they stay in, a good, thorough clean. Flea larvae and pupae can survive for several months, especially in toasty warm environments, so wash all pet bedding and blankets on a 60-degree cycle to kill them.

Consider using a flea spray on your dog or cat to control fleas spreading in between washes like the Aristopet Flea and Tick Spray, which is ideal for controlling fleas in your pet's playing and sleeping areas.

Dog wearing flea collar, with owner
Flea collars are a non-invasive option, releasing two active ingredients to the outer layer of your dog's skin and fur to deter fleas and ticks. Photo: Getty

Treat your pets

Treating your pets is essential to flea control and the spread of serious infestation. Ridding pets of fleas rapidly will give them less opportunity to lay eggs, meaning less work in eradicating them.

It's important to keep up with regular flea treatments. Some topical treatments like Advocate need to be applied once a month, so setting an easy-to-remember date to do so - like the first of every month - will help stay on top of it.

If you've spotted fleas on one pet, it's safe to assume all your pets have them, so treat each one and take note of the different dosages when it comes to both topical and oral treatments for dogs and cats.

Putting a flea collar on your pet can help too, with some giving dogs up to eight months of protection against fleas and ticks. The Seresto flea and tick collar is odourless so won't bother your pet, and it kills fleas instantly.

Girl holding a Maltese terrier dog in towel
A regular grooming routine will help keep fleas at bay. Photo: Getty

Regular grooming

Apart from keeping your pet's bedding and surrounding area inside your home clean, you also need to keep them fresh and clean. Using a flea-deterring shampoo with a natural insecticide like Aristopet Flea and Tick shampoo will keep your pets smelling and looking great while fighting off fleas too. This shampoo can be used on dogs, puppies, kittens and cats, so no need to buy more than one type.

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