Spring is finally here! For those of us who live in cold, snowy
climates, the warmer temperatures are a welcome change. Naturally,
we all want to spend more time outdoors in the spring and summer
when the weather is nice - and that includes our pets, too. Here are
a few springtime health & safety tips for pets.
- Brush, brush, brush. Many dogs shed heavily as the
temperatures get warmer. Help them get rid of their winter coats
by brushing them regularly. Brushing not only removes dead hair
and tangles, it also stimulates the skin and distributes good oils
throughout the coat. It also gives you the opportunity to find any
lumps, bumps, or skin conditions you might not have otherwise noticed.
Lots of dogs love to be brushed, too, and it gives pets and
owners a chance for some quiet bonding time.
- Don't let pets drink out of standing or melting water.
Depending on where you live, some municipalities may lay down
salt or other snow-melt chemicals during the winter. As water
runs off (or some stubborn snow continues to melt), these
chemicals can be present in puddles. Try to prevent thirsty
pets from drinking from these puddles. Rinse off paws after
an outing to remove any residual chemicals.
- Talk to your vet about flea & tick control and
heartworm prevention. Not all areas are prone to these
problems, but some definitely are, particularly as the
weather gets warmer. Ask your vet for alternatives. There
are heartworm pills or liquid treatments that are applied
between a dog's shoulder blades, and there are more
"natural" solutions (like shampoos) that may
work as well. Your vet may also recommend a heartworm test
to make sure your pet is free of heartworms prior to
administering a preventive treatment.
Even if fleas, tick, or heartworm aren't problems where
you live, remember to ask your vet if they're issue where
you plan to vacation with your pet.
- Ease into exercise. If your dog got less exercise
during the cold winter months, gently ease into a more active
routine. Doing so too quickly can lead to injury or over-exertion.
- Watch for allergies. Dogs can develop allergies to
pollen, grass, mold, and other things just like people can.
Allergy symptoms include itching, coughing, redness of the
skin, flaky skin, and sneezing.
- Be alert to lawn chemicals and toxic plants.
Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are commonly applied
to green spaces, parks, and even on residential lawns. Many
popular plants and bulbs are also toxic to pets, as is cocoa
mulch, sometimes used in garden beds. Keep pets out of garden
beds and out of public areas which have recently been treated
- Check your pet's paws regularly. Look for things
like burrs, seeds, tree sap, thorns, and other things that
may be causing them discomfort.
- Plan your walks for when the temperatures are appropriate.
As temperatures continue to climb, it can get much too hot to
safely walk a dog during the afternoons. Mornings and evenings
are cooler. Bring water for your dog on walks, and carefully
watch him for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Getting outside for some fresh air and exercise is one of
life's great pleasures, especially for dogs. Have a safe, fun,
and active spring!
See you in a couple of weeks for our photos issue
- please send us
your pet photos!
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit
with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not
boring - it was peace."
- Angela, Newsletter Editor
On behalf of Rundle, the Pet Friendly CEO (Chief Eating Officer)