Fleas & Ticks on Dogs in the Southwest

What do dog parents in the Southwest — including places like Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California — have to know about fleas and ticks on their canines?

A Golden puppy itching and scratching.
A Golden puppy itching and scratching. Photography ©R.Tsubin | Getty Images.
Last Updated on December 6, 2023 by Dogster Team

The desert southwest — a special climate we see in places like Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California — is arid and dry. Fleas and ticks may not flourish in this environment as much as they do in humid regions with green grass and forests. But Arizona dogs aren’t immune to irritating flea and tick bites, and pet parents may face infestations, says Dr. Brian Serbin, a Phoenix veterinarian at Ingleside Animal Hospital.

With the temperate climate of consistent heat in many parts of the southwest, there is no flea or tick season really; the pests come year-round. Still, like other regions, the peak time is the spring, summer and fall since winter may still have some cold spells and pests aren’t breeding as much.

Fleas on dogs in the Southwest

A dog on a harness and leash barking.
What should Southwest dog parents know about pests like fleas and ticks? Photography ©alexei_tm | Thinkstock.

Fleas can be more than just a nuisance. In fact, Newsweek reported in 2017 that officials discovered that fleas in two Arizona counties were carrying the bacteria that causes the bubonic plague.

Interestingly, cats in the desert southwest get fleas more often than dogs do, Dr. Serbin says.

Ticks on dogs in the Southwest

The good news for dogs and humans in the whole region west of the Mississippi River is that there is little to no Lyme disease, Dr. Serbin says.

The brown dog ticks are the most common ticks that lives in the desert, and they feed on cats as well as dogs — the most common hosts — and other animals, including humans. Ouch. Remember that these parasites need a host, like your dog, to survive and your dogs may pick up ticks from wildlife like coyotes, Dr. Serbin says.

The prevention and treatment:

Dr. Serbin recommends year-round measures, based on your veterinarian’s advice and tailored to your dog.

More recommendations for preventing fleas and ticks on dogs:

It’s Flea and Tick Week sponsored by Andis on Dogster.com. Stay tuned for more tips on how to keep your dog and household safe from fleas and ticks!

Featured Image Credit: R.Tsubin | Getty Images.

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