Ticks also like to hang out in leaf litter when the weather is cold because it provides them with insulation. So, letting your dog run through or roll in large piles of raked up leaves may not be a good idea. It’s smart to manage your yard to minimize tick exposures. This includes dealing with leaf litter and stacking wood neatly to avoid rodent habitat.
Ticks tend to indulge in three big blood meals over their lifetime. The first typically comes in the summer after hatching. Those larval ticks are usually disease-free and often use a mouse for their first meal. They hang out over the winter and come out as nymphs the following spring. Through May and June, they are actively hunting for a meal – a deer, mouse or pet will do. The third meal is generally in the fall right before the adult tick reproduces and dies. If the adult tick doesn’t find a good meal in the fall, it may stick around through winter and into the spring. Realistically, your pet is at risk for tick bites all year long.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council stresses the need for year-round tick control to ensure pets remain protected.