Can Dogs Get Ticks in the Winter?

Frenchie in the snow

Are you a dog parent who wants to enjoy an outdoor trip in the winter? Or just let your dog outside to go potty during the winter?

If so, you must take all the preventative measures for your pet as dogs CAN get ticks in the winter.

Yes, you read that right. These blood-sucking, disease-carrying parasites have actually developed an anti-freeze glycoprotein that helps them to survive in extreme cold. As a result, you have to stay vigilant for ticks throughout the year.

If you are visiting a region that has the reputation of mild winters, the probability of tick-borne diseases increases many times. It has been observed that ticks need just a little energy to attack your pets. That’s the reason why a lot of dogs in the coldest areas of North America get affected, every year. 

When is Flea and Tick Season?

Dog with thought bubble containing flea and ticks

The activity of ticks is heavily dependent on their species and the surrounding climate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chances of tick attacks are highest from April to September. Similarly, it is believed that summer and spring are the most active seasons for ticks. Having said that, they don’t miss an opportunity to latch onto a dog, even in winter.

In order to survive the harsh weather conditions, ticks either go dormant or latch on to a warm host animal. They maintain their state of dormancy until the temperature rises above 35o F. At this point, some species of ticks gain enough energy to become active. On the other hand, some types of ticks need the temperature to go beyond 45o F to start attacking again.

Do Ticks Die In Water?

Pewter bowl full of water on wooden table

Despite the fact that ticks cannot swim at all, they can still live in submerged water for up to 3 days. Experiments have shown that ticks can even survive hot water but cannot counter dryness. Consequently, a spin in the dryer will kill them but a wash in hot water won’t.

This is important to know if you have an infestation and are trying to wash ticks out of bedding and other areas of your house.

Once a tick has attached itself on your pet, killing it becomes more dangerous for the host. This is because the death of the tick increases the chances of disease transmission. Therefore, you must remove the parasite with a specialized tool to avoid any complication.

I like the tick scoop for removing ticks. It’s inexpensive and works really well.

Are Ticks Out When It’s Raining?

Considering the fact that ticks love greenery, they welcome rainfall. The grass is among the desired habitats of ticks and they can survive rain in all stages of their lifecycle. In addition to that, their hatred for dryness also contributes to the cause. Lower humidity tends to dry out ticks and they become inactive during droughts. Last but not least, rain brings out more and more host animals for ticks to feed on. All in all, more rain means more ticks and vice-versa.

At What Temperatures Do Deer Ticks Die?

Thermometer in the snow

Contrary to popular belief, deer ticks do not die or go away in winter. They are right there, either on the body of the host animal (deer) or hiding underground to escape cold temperatures. As soon as temperatures rise above freezing, these parasites try their best to find animals they can attack.

Just like cold temperature, deer ticks are not very fond of snow as they crawl over surfaces. In the case of snowfall, they bury themselves under debris or any other shelter. Once the weather clears up and they get sufficient energy, they are good to go.  

Different Kinds of Ticks in Dogs

Despite the fact that there are several kinds of ticks, only a few of them can affect your dogs. Following is a list of some of the most dangerous ticks that can infect your pet.

Deer Ticks

Adult deer ticks are most active in spring and fall while larvae and nymphs dominate the summer season. The highest proportion of these ticks is found in Ontario but they are also well distributed in other parts of Canada, the eastern United States, and the Midwest. Wooded areas along trails are their most favored habitat.

These reddish-brown ticks have a brown (or black) shield between their mouths and body. An adult female deer tick lays around 2,000 eggs annually and is famous for transmitting Lyme disease. Similarly, it has been reported to transfer germs of Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis in dogs.   

American Dog Ticks

The most active period for these brown-colored ticks is the spring season. They are commonly found in the eastern United States, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. They grow up to 10-12 millimeters in size and have white spots or streaks on their backs. Given the fact that they detect their prey by its scent, they are generally found near roads and recreational areas.

A single female tick lays nearly 6,500 eggs before dying. The unfed larvae can live for 540 days as it moves on the host animal in search of food. On the other hand, an adult American dog tick can survive for nearly 2 years without food.

Brown Dog Ticks

Brown dog tick on fur

This type of ticks poses a serious threat of infecting your dog in the winters because they can develop indoors. Consequently, you may find these ticks in different nooks and corners of your home. For instance, walls, furniture, and radiators are their favorite spots. They inhabit most parts of the United States and Canada and are popular transmitters of Ehrlichiosis.

Given their distinct lifecycle (tropical origin), brown dog ticks cannot survive in cold winters. A female dog tick grows up to 10-12 millimeter and lays around 5,000 eggs, at a suitable hiding place. These ticks are also reddish-brown in color, just like deer ticks.   

Lone Star Ticks

Lone Star Tick on human skin

The most active period for lone star ticks begins in March and continues until July. Just like American dog ticks, they are also found in the Midwest and the eastern United States. A female lone star tick has a silvery-white spot on its back while the male ticks offer multiple white spots. This type of ticks is abundantly found in bushy areas like river creeks and bottoms. Likewise, they also reside in resting places of animals.

The Bottom Line on Ticks in the Winter

Although ticks are not at their best during the winter, they can still end up on your dog if you aren’t careful. Therefore, if you are planning to go hiking with your dog, let your dog outside to go potty, or do other winter activities with your pooch, do follow all the necessary precautions (irrespective of the weather) to avoid and treat any infestation.

If you like this and want other natural health tips for your dog, check out Natural Treatment for Leukemia in Dogs.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.