4 min read
Tips for Keeping your Dog Healthy this Spring
By Kim Rain
Published: 10/03/2017, edited: 03/16/2023
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Spring can be an exciting season for pets. The birds begin to sing and the frogs and toads croak once again, signaling the return of longer days, warmer weather, and fun waiting right outside that door! Like many of us, our dogs can get bored and anxious waiting for the long winter months to end, and come spring, they are ready to explore all the new sounds, sights and smells the season brings.
Before you let them loose outside, however, you should be aware that danger could also be lurking around the corner. From wildlife and poisonous plants, to parasites, diseases and allergies, spring can awaken more than just our sense of adventure! Being aware of the dangers the season holds for your dog can help you keep them safe while enjoying the great outdoors!
Check out these pawsome tips for keeping your dog healthy and safe this spring, and keep the good times furbulously fun!
Plan fun, outdoor adventures
The best way to enjoy spring is to get out into it, and we know your dog agrees! So, plan some pawtastic spring walks, visit a new park, check out a local beach and get those paws moving! Exercise and new places provide much needed mental and physical stimulation, and after a long winter indoors, your dog will be barking for some excitement. Just be sure to start slow with short walks to build up your dog’s muscle and exercise tolerance before attempting long hikes or other adventures.
Ensure all vaccinations are current
Spring often heralds in a lot of interactions with new places, people and pups. From dog parks to new trails, lakes or campgrounds to explore, there’s diseases and bacteria lurking in the water, on the ground, in parasites and insects, and in other animals. Being vaccinated against the most common ones in your area can protect your dog without limiting their fun. Check with your vet for the vaccinations your pup needs to stay safe.
Repel those parasites
As the snow recedes, the fleas, ticks and other parasites begin to wake up hungry and start looking for new hosts. These pesky critters can bite and iritate your dogs skin and can even transmit dangerous diseases such as rickettsiosis, ehrlichiosis and lyme disease. Not to mention mosquitoes which can transmit heartworms or West Nile virus. Don’t let that happen to your dog! Be sure you repel those pesky pests by giving your dog their monthly heartworm, flea and tick prevention, and create a routine to ensure they are protected throughout the spring season and through summer.
As the warmer weather chases away the winter chill, your dog’s winter coat will begin to shed. For long-haired pups or those with double coats like Golden Retrievers, all that loose hair can become trapped and matted if they aren’t brushed regularly. Weekly baths and brushes can also loosen dirt and help you spot any fleas or ticks on your dog.
Watch out for toxic spring plants
While plants begin to bud and sprout from the newly softened ground, your dog may be tempted to chomp on something they probably shouldn’t. Mushrooms have an interesting texture, but could poison your pup, as could pupular spring heralds daffodils, tulips, lilies and amaryllis. Keeping these plants out of your yard is a good way to avoid them, but you may consider teaching or reinforcing such commands as “Leave it” or “Drop it” in case your pup’s nose leads them to something dangerous elsewhere. Toxic fertilizers and pesticides could also be present on toxic and harmless plants, and toxic molds and mildews could be nearby in compost piles. Be aware of the signs of poisoning, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, changes in pupil size and coordination issues.
Give wildlife their space
There’s nothing as exciting to most pooches than something new to chase, and once outside, that squirrel or rabbit may be too tempting to resist! However, most wildlife carry diseases, and since spring is when a lot of babies are born, these animals can also be more aggressive when protecting their young. Training your dog to leave wildlife alone and to come on command will go a long way to preventing a fight between an angry raccoon and your dog. Need help? Book an in-home training session to get tips from a professional.
Always keep clean water on hand
As the spring thaw melts the snow, puddles, ponds, lakes and rivers can look quite inviting and may be tempting for a thirsty pup. But inside those bodies of water may be parasites and bacteria that can be harmful to your pup, such as Leptospira and Giardia. Be sure to tote clean water wherever you and your pup explore so they don’t have to drink from a possibly contaminated source.
Be on the lookout for allergies
From pollen and mold spores in the air and ground, to biting fleas and ticks, and stinging bees and wasps, it can be hard to prevent your dog from getting exposed to spring allergens that are literally everywhere! You can reduce or prevent many symptoms of an allergic reaction in your dog by giving them medications prescribed by your veterinarian, as well as giving them a quick wipe down after an outdoor adventure, giving them more frequent baths, and including anti-inflammatory supplements in your dog’s diet, such as Omega-3. Signs of an allergic reaction can include skin irritation and rashes, or discharge from noses or eyes.
Update your dog’s ID
The sounds, smells and noises of spring can be so exciting for some dogs that they may escape their yard or home in pursuit of a critter or scent. A loose dog can get lost, hit by a car, or even attacked by predatory animals! Make it easy for your dog to find their way home by ensuring their ID tags and microchips are all up-to-date, and that your contact information is correct.
By following these easy tips, your adventure hound can stay safe this spring and focus on the fun! So, grab that leash and get exploring!
Spring dangers can get costly. Avoid high vet care expenses and keep your pet covered when the unexpected happens by securing pet health insurance today!
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