With the coming of spring, it's not only the flowers that come back to life. Fleas and intestinal parasites reappear in full force creating a potential health hazard for dogs. As dogs start to shed their winter coats, dog owners begin to see fur everywhere in the home. Dogs begin to spend more time outdoors, and with more exercise nutritional needs change. The following spring safety tips for dogs will help you and your dog make the most of the season.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #1
Fleas that were no problem in the cold of winter, will rear their biting little heads again with spring. Since fleas can cause a series of health complications, it's important to treat your dog with flea prevention when spring starts. The easiest flea prevention medications are those that are applied topically once a month, however if you use this method be careful not to wash your dog with soap-based shampoos, as these will cleanse his coat of the flea medication. Instead use water-based shampoos, or give your dog a flea medication in pill form. A single female flea can lay over 300 eggs a day, so take preventive measures to protect your dog and home from an infestation as the warm spring weather starts.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #2
Spring is the season when most dogs pick up intestinal parasites. Tapeworms are contracted from fleas, when a dog licks the flea bites, and roundworms and hookworms are easily contracted as well. Whether your dog drinks from a stream or plays with another contaminated dog in the park, intestinal parasites are easy to contract. Luckily they are also easy to prevent. By placing your dog on worm prevention medication when spring starts, you can keep him healthy all season long. And many worm prevention medications also include Heart Worm prevention, which is ideal.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #3
Dogs are more active in the spring when the weather is mild and prolonged exercising outside becomes possible. Be sure to provide your dog with plenty of fresh water, and refresh the water daily to keep the water tasting good and free of drool. And consider adding vitamin supplements to your dog's food or increasing his daily portion of food.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #4
Spring is the time to check your dog's collar and name tag again. Now that your dog will be outside more, be sure that his collar is snug enough not to snag on a branch and come off. Be sure your telephone number on his dog tag is up-to-date. Wipe your leash with anti-bacterial wipes once a week, to remove any dirt or contaminates that may cling both to the handle and to the leash itself, especially where it may cling around your dog's backside.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #5
If your dog spends time in a gated backyard when the weather is nice, take the time to walk around the fence and make sure that there are no gaps underneath and no broken sections. In spring your dog will be digging around and is likely to find little openings he missed in winter when it was too cold to be out for long periods.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #6
Now that your dog will spend more time outside, his grooming is more important than ever. Make sure to clip nails regularly and to give your dog the basic grooming that is important for his health as well as yours. This will help contain the shedding associated with seasonal change.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #7
As we start to grill outdoors, remember that your pet may be attracted to the smells from the grill. Larger dogs have been known to knock over a grill trying to reach whatever is cooking. Be sure to keep your pets a safe distance from the heat and flames of a grill or outdoor fire pits.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #8
Be mindful of what you plant in the garden this year. There are over 700 springtime plants that are poisonous to pets; this is just a few that many people have planted around their house. Putting up simple fences is one way to keep your pets from getting to these plants.
Tulip - Ingestion can result in intense vomiting, depression, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, drooling and lack of appetite.
Hyacinth - Ingestion can result in intense vomiting, diarrhea, depression and tremors.
Daffodil - Ingestion can result in severe gastrointestinal illness, convulsions, seizures, low blood pressure and tremors.
Peace lily - Ingestion can result in ulcers in the mouth, vomiting and diarrhea.
Easter cactus - Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Cats can also develop staggering.
Crown of Thorns - Ingestion results in vomiting and diarrhea.
Azalea - Vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, weakness, coma, hypertension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.
Crocus - Excessive salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disorders, lack of appetite, tremors, convulsions, seizures
Rhododendron - Vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, weakness, coma, hypertension, CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse and death.
American Bittersweet - Weakness, convulsions, gastroenteritis (vomiting, diarrhea.)
Clematis - Vomiting, diarrhea, oral ulcers, ataxia irritant
Foxglove - Cardiac arrhythmia, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, death.
Lily of the Valley - Ataxia, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, death.
Narcissus - Severe gastrointestinal disorders, convulsions, shivering, hypertension, dermatitis, muscular tremors, and cardiac arrhythmia.
Morning Glory - Seeds may cause hallucination, may cause diarrhea.
To find a full list with pictures visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center webpage of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden. http://www.aspca.org/
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #9
Dog Park Safety- Spring and summer are the times when dog parks are full of dogs. Many of these dogs are harmless but when faced with certain conditions a dog can turn suddenly and bite.
- Stay close to your pet.
- Introduce your dog to other dogs and watch their responses.
- If all is friendly, then it is safe to let them play.
- If any type of aggression is shown, take your dog to another part of the park and find a new playmate.
- Do not try to break up a fight by getting in the middle. Use leashes or water to separate the dogs.
- If you or your pet receives a bite wound, seek medical help to prevent infection.
Spring Safety for Dogs: Tip #10
Windows: Whether you live in a private home or an apartment, you'll be tempted to open windows to let in the fresh air. Be sure to keep screens or protective bars on your windows to prevent your pets from escaping or falls.
In conclusion, spring is a time of year most pets truly enjoy. They have spent most of their time over the winter months inside and are now again allowed to experience the great outdoors. Remember also that spring is breeding time for many animals and might be a good time to consider spaying or neutering your pets if you have not already done so.