Spring has officially “sprung” and with it comes warmer weather, outdoor playtime, spring cleaning, allergies, and gardening. What many people aren’t aware of are the potential hazards that spring can mean for your furry friends.
If you’re anything like me, spring means spending time outside! Whether it’s getting my “green thumb”on, jogging, hiking, or simply enjoying a glass of my favorite Chardonnay on my patio, being outdoors is my favorite way to welcome the season. Warmer weather also brings out budding plants and flying insects, both of which could equal trouble for your four-legged friends.
APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS
When thinking about starting up your garden, make sure you’re aware of what flowers and plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. Some popular spring flowers (Tulips, Daffodils, and certain Lilies, for example) are extremely poisonous and can be deadly. For a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants, refer to the ASPCA’s website.
While fertilizers, weed killers, and insecticides may be essential for your garden, they can be extremely harmful to your pet. When buying these items, choose pet-friendly products and restrict yard access to your pet according to the manufacturer's instructions. Never apply outdoor lawn treatments while your pet, pet toys, or food/water bowls are in the area. Pellet pesticides can easily be mistaken for food or treats, so consider this risk if you choose to use them. If you take your pup to a park that uses pesticides, consider staying away from treated areas for at least 72 hours. If you suspect your dog or cat has been poisoned, contact your vet right away! You should also have the following numbers close by:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline: (800) 213-6680
Spring cleaning has sort of become a time-honored “ritual” in my household and according to the American Cleaning Institute I’m not alone in this practice! Three out of four Americans deep-clean their homes every spring. No matter what spring cleaning means to you; make sure you’re making it pet friendly. Almost all cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets so make sure you read all labels and make sure the product is safe to use around your furry friends. If spring cleaning also means tackling home improvement projects, keep in mind that products such as paints and solvents can be toxic for pets. If you are undergoing any major home improvement projects, it might not be a bad idea to confine your dog or cat to a pet-friendly room while you work on your project.
Mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks can pose a springtime (and summertime!) problem for your furry family members. Luckily pet owners can avoid these issues by following some key prevention tips. Ticks love to hang out in tall grass so lawns should be cut low (including around sheds, trees, fence lines, etc.) and pets should be inspected upon returning indoors during tick season. Mosquitoes pose a serious risk because they transmit heartworms, a potentially deadly condition with an expensive and stressful treatment. You can minimize mosquito breeding grounds by eliminating standing water in places such as flowerpots, baby pools, birdbaths or any other surfaces that can collect water. It’s also not a bad idea to reduce outdoor activity at dusk and and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
While most pets only experience itching from fleas, some animals can experience more serious reactions such as skin infections or hair loss. Dogs and cats get fleas through contact with other animals and can easily bring them into your home. Fleas multiply quickly and can create a big problem by infesting bedding furniture and clothing. Minimize this risk by ensuring your pet receives a preventative and gets frequent baths and washing their bedding frequently.
Preventatives come in both oral and topical forms; talk to your vet about the best options for you and your pets!
OUT AND ABOUT
Nice weather means taking longer walks and more trips to the dog park. Make sure your pet wears a collar with an up to date tag that includes your name, phone number and address in case your pup wanders a bit too far. Having your pet microchipped is even better in that it allows for easy detection if your pup gets away.
Just like humans, your pets can experience seasonal allergies. If you notice your pets scratching or licking more than usual, or losing patches of hair, you might want to check in with your vet to see if administering an allergy medication is appropriate.
Enjoy the warm weather, stay safe, and have fun! If you found these tips helpful and/or if you have any of your own, please leave us a comment below or visit our Facebook page and share them there!