(NBC) -- The temperature is falling. So are the leaves.
These are perfect conditions that can fool many pet owners who stop treating their pets for fleas.
"They're thinking it's fall, and fleas are more of a spring or summer problem, and that's not true at all", says Dr. Clayton Watkins, a veterinarian.
An extended flea season can mean bad news for Fido and Fluffy.
Walking in the park or rolling in the grass can add up to quick trouble for an unprotected pet.
If you think your fuzzy friend might have fleas, it's easy to check; you can run a simple flea comb through your animal's hair.
Or try another simple test.
"A white sheet or a white bath towel or hand towel, put your animal on top of it, fluff their coat up, and you should see some black particulate matter if they have fleas", advises Watkins.
If your four-legged friend does have fleas, there are plenty of options.
Topical ointments applied into your pet's coat are one popular preventative.
So are pills, but you need to know your animal's age and weight in either case.
A mild shampoo can even get the job done.
"If they're really young", says Watkins, "you can take a flea comb with just soapy water and comb it through and the soap and water will kill the fleas or at least bind them up."
Experts say treat your critters against fleas through December in most climates and all year long in warmer areas.
Most importantly, if you have questions, don't delay.
Talk to your vet as soon as possible.