Sunny skies and warmer weather mean that your pet will likely be spending more time outside. While springtime is exciting for pets and pet parents cooped up inside all winter, the changing of seasons poses certain dangers to your pet. Before venturing outdoors for a day of fun, check out these important pet health tips for spring.
- Perform Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning isn’t just for inside your home. To ensure that your yard is safe for your pet, do some spring cleaning outside. Pick up any trash that accumulated over the winter, as well as chemicals used for ice melting. Ensure that any spring cleaning products that you use outdoors are pet-friendly and keep all products out of your pet’s reach. If you plan to reseed your yard in the spring, consider putting up temporary fencing to keep your pet off the lawn. Some grass seeds can be harmful to pets.
- Keep Pets Away from New Plants
Many pet owners plant in the spring, flower pots on their patio or garden beds in the yard. Regardless of where you plant, it’s important to ensure that your pet doesn’t have access to plants that are harmful to them. Some common spring flowers that are toxic to pets include lilies, tulips, daffodils (especially the bulbs), birds of paradise, gladiolas, begonias, chrysanthemums, and amaryllises.
- Keep Fleas and Ticks at Bay
As the temperature rises, you can expect nuisance fleas and ticks to be on the lookout for a warm body. These insects feed on your pet’s blood and can cause a wide range of complications, such as allergic reactions and tick-borne illnesses. Pets can easily pick up fleas outdoors and since female fleas lay up to 50 eggs a day, an infestation can occur over just a few days. Do your part to keep your pet safe by asking your vet for flea and tick prevention.
- Buckle Up On Car Rides
Spring is the best time to take your pup for a leisurely car ride. Many dogs love to feel the wind in their face and to smell the fresh air. However, it’s important to take some precautions. Avoid letting your pet ride in the beds of pick-up trucks or stick their heads outside of moving car windows. Insects and other flying debris, as well as abrupt stops or turns, could cause injuries to your pet. When riding in the car, always secure your pet in a crate or with a seatbelt harness designed exclusively for pets.
- Initiate Heartworm Prevention
Spring is heartworm season for pets due to the increase in these parasites as the weather warms. Mosquitoes infected with heartworm can transmit the parasite to pets with a single bite. Once in the body, heartworms can continuously reproduce and grow up to 12 inches long. The good news is that heartworms are almost always preventable with the right medications. Ideally, heartworm preventatives should be given every month year-round.
- Look for Springtime Allergies
Just like humans, pets can suffer from springtime allergies due to plants, pollens, and other environmental factors. Common signs of a seasonal allergy in pets include scratching, inflamed skin, excessive shedding, compulsive paw licking, chronic ear infections, and respiratory illnesses. Pet owners can help ease their pet’s symptoms with an allergy pill and other remedies, such as anti-itch sprays and the avoidance of allergens.
- Ease Into Exercise Routines
If your pet hasn’t been very active during the winter season, you don’t want to immediately start an intense exercise routine come spring. It’s important to ease your dog into a new routine to allow your pet to gradually build up its muscles and endurance. This will significantly reduce the risk of your dog suffering from exercise-related injuries.
- Remove Your Pet’s Winter Coat
Many breeds form “winter coats” over the long winter season that helps them stay warm when temperatures plummet. In the spring, pets begin to shed their winter coats to prepare for higher temperatures. Some pets need a little help with the shedding process, especially if mats have formed in the hair. Start the process of brushing out your pet to remove excess hair or schedule an appointment with a professional dog groomer.
- Check Your Pet’s ID Tags
Despite your best efforts to pet-proof your yard, dogs can sometimes escape when you least expect. If your pup is roaming the neighborhood, you want to ensure that he makes his way safely home. Make sure that your pet’s identification tags are legible and contain the most up-to-date contact information. If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company to ensure that they have accurate information in their system.
- Eliminate Access to Holiday Chocolate
Springtime is filled with fun events and holidays, such as Easter and Mother’s Day. One thing that these events have in common is sweet treats like chocolate. While humans can safely enjoy chocolate, this treat is toxic to cats and dogs. When enjoying chocolate in your home, keep it a safe distance from your pets. Consider making your pet a basket of safe, pet-friendly treats and toys so that he can enjoy the spring season alongside you.