Winter is fast approaching, and since dogs and cats get heartworm disease through the bites of infected mosquitoes, many pet owners are tempted to stop giving heartworm prevention when the temperature starts to drop. This is almost always a mistake! Here are the top three reasons why:
1.) In many parts of the country, mosquitoes can remain active year round. Unless you live in a very cold and/or dry climate, your dog or cat may be bitten during any month of the year. If you travel with your pet, you must also take into consideration the climate along your travel route and your destination.
2.) Most preventatives do more than protect your dog or cat against heartworms. Some prevent flea and tick infestations, mange, lice, or intestinal worms, and stopping use will leave your pet open to these problems during the winter months.
3.) Many owners misunderstand how heartworm preventatives like Heartgard for dogs and cats work. They actually kill the parasites that your pet has picked up in the last month. Therefore, if you fail to give the last fall or early winter dose at the appropriate time, you leave your pet open to infection.
The money you might save from stopping heartworm prevention during the winter months is simply not worth the risk and potential cost of heartworm treatment.