It is unfortunately too early to give the all-clear in autumn: many dog owners are subject to the widespread misconception that ticks are only active in spring and summer. It is true that the activity of the parasites becomes less and less towards winter – in return, however, the beloved dog increases the risk of becoming infected with dangerous diseases with every bite.
The reason for this is very simple: at the end of the year, significantly more ticks are infected with the dangerous pathogens than during the main tick season in the warm spring days. If the parasites manage to find a host animal in the spring, they have the molting behind in the autumn. You are then ready to bite again. However, “ready” is an understatement: If the ticks do not find a new bite victim after molting, they almost always perish in the cold winter months. The last pleasant autumn days are the last chance for these “homeless” ticks to ensure their survival – and they certainly won’t miss this chance with roaming dogs! So even when walking in the dark months there is danger for the dog.
The limit for most ticks is around 8 to 10 degrees
But how long are the ticks still active? An exact date cannot be given here, because the ticks’ activity depends on the weather. If the daytime temperatures still exceed 8 to 10 degrees, many ticks are still active. But even at temperatures just above freezing, no all-clear signal can be given, as individual ticks are still waiting for their victims here. Dog owners and dogs are only really safe in the really crisp, cold winter months. If the thermometer permanently drops below zero degrees, the ticks retreat to warmer soil layers and spend the winter there. In the snow, the dog is no longer at risk from tick infestation and tick bites.
Health threats from ticks: “dog malaria”, TBE, Lyme disease etc.
The diseases that the dog can catch from the dangerous parasites show that tick bites are not to be trifled with. “Dog malaria” (dog’s babesiosis), “dog anaplasmosis” (canine anaplasmosis), TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis) and Lyme disease can lead to animal death if left untreated. Dogs are also much more at risk than masters and mistresses often want them to be: Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not drop from trees, but wait for their victims on grasses and shrubs. So exactly where dogs like to pursue their play instinct. Ticks also find much better hold in the dog’s fur than, for example, on clothed people.
Do not do without tick collars, tick spray or spot-ons
Due to the danger posed by the ticks, veterinarians recommend not to do without the tried-and-tested defense measures even in autumn temperatures. The risk of the animal catching a serious illness from the tick bite is simply too high. Tick collars, tick spray and of course the so-called spot-on preparations, which are applied directly to the dog’s skin, have proven their worth. It is important that the preparations have a double effect. On the one hand, they should kill the ticks directly, on the other hand, their scent should deter the parasites. If there is any doubt about the effectiveness of the product, it is advisable to seek the advice of a veterinarian.
Experts advise that animal proteins are particularly important in autumn and winter
Not only the last active ticks affect the dogs during the dark season. The wet and cold weather is often accompanied by colds, infections and other illnesses. In order to strengthen the dog’s defenses, the editorial team therefore recommends dog food that contains a particularly large amount of high-quality animal protein. Such as the grain and gluten-free Chicken & Peas, in which the protein content exceeds the 25% mark. In addition, the feed is rich in the valuable, polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, a balanced vital complex that supports the dog’s health in this “problematic” season in the best possible way.