As the spring weather warms, we are starting to see the number of fleas and ticks growing and looking for a blood meal from your pet, or you.By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It is a never ending threat. In years past, this would be the start of the traditional tick and flea season, but that is no longer the case.

The critters are now out there year round, even in the snow.

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But as the spring weather warms, we are starting to see their numbers growing and looking for a blood meal from your pet, or you.

“Cool and damp, and morning is where the ticks are most active, they love that temperature,” says Dr. Jenn Fox of the Franklin Animal Clinic.

Dr. Fox and her colleagues says pet owners should never let their guard down in this region. “Especially with Pennsylvania. We are the hot zone for Lyme disease. So a lot of ticks are out there it is a year round issue there’s no season for ticks anymore.”

And waiting until you see evidence she says is a mistake. “Usually, by the time you see something, that’s really the tip of the iceberg, and they have spent days, weeks to months, laying babies in your house, or most years they just keep patching out and keep surprising you. Your first best line of defense, protect the pet that’s what they want to go for the most. They will choose the pets over us.”

So what’s the best method? Dr. Fox says “the fastest, most effective products are becoming, oral, especially for dogs and some cats.” The medication ‘floats’ in your pets body with no impact to them but, “When a flea and tick bites. It’s kind of like the flea and tick is drinking a poison.”

Watch as KDKA’s John Shumway reports:

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Next up she says, “There is a non-toxic collar that’s on the market that is self-replacing. Meaning that is releases the anti-critter medication over time. Dr. Fox says the current controversy over Seresto Collars has been out there for several years. “These products are good, but people are making counterfeits. And so what you buy from a larger name, or someone who’s being less careful and buying from the cheapest supplier. There are counterfeit products, and so a lot of the problems that we hear about the thing. I mean I haven’t been the true product.”

Dr. Fox says buyer beware and she would avoid buying the collars on line where you have no idea how they are being supplied.

Finally there are the topical ointments. You know, the stuff you put on the back of your pets neck. Dr. Fox says the 30 day treatment, “Floats on the skin, usually still meaning nothing to the dog and the cat body, but when the flea and tick walk on them. It is like absorbing a toxic killer into the flea or tick.”

From a cost standpoint, the chewables which most pets will readily take because they taste like a treat are the most expensive.

The ointments are on the other end of the scale.

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Doing nothing she says, is a recipe for getting your pet and potentially you sick with Lyme Disease being the most critical of the illnesses.