It’s hard to believe with snow still on the ground, but spring is almost upon us! With the nice weather coming, there are plenty of opportunities to spend time outside with your pooch (see: http://perfect-pooch.com/spring-fun-with-your-pooch/). While walking, hiking and playing outdoors can lead to great relationship building and training opportunities, there are a few important safety tips to keep in mind this spring. There are both indoor and outdoor risks that can pose a danger to your dog, so taking a few preventative steps can ensure safe adventures. While outside with your pet, keep these few precautions in mind to ensure their safety during the springtime fun.
First, you should always have identification on your pet. Collar embroidery or I.D. tags are the best option and be sure to update your personal information whenever you move or change phone numbers. Your pet may already have a microchip implanted under the skin of their neck, which is a great tool that can link your pet back to you. However, remember to update it regularly and keep in mind that not every chip operates on the same frequency, which can impede a reunion. Virtually anyone can read a collar tag, but not everyone knows to take a found dog to a shelter or vet for a microchip scan.
When you are out with your dog in your garden or a public park, be aware that many decorative plants and seasonal foliage are poisonous for your pet. Easter decorations and flowers can be especially harmful to your pet, as well, so be sure to steer clear of public decorations and decorate your home with care.
Another, less obvious, plant danger lies in the fertilizers and insecticides many towns and neighborhoods use to safeguard greenery. Walking through these chemicals can lead to licked paws or minor burns so it’s always a good idea to wipe your dog’s paws if they’ve been walking through green spaces.
Along with spring flowers comes springtime pests. If your pooch is not already on a year-round preventative for heartworm, fleas and ticks, now is a good time to talk to your vet about starting a preventative regimen. With the warm weather come the mosquitoes and other pesky critters that can pass on deadly diseases, such as heartworm and Lyme so it’s especially important to protect your pet from these small assailants.
Once you find the best product for your pet, be sure to also do regular spot checks for ticks and fleas, especially after a hike or any romp through tall grass. One quick way to distinguish fleas from dirt is to dab any suspected spots with a wet paper towel. Flea dirt will leave a red residue while regular dirt will look like mud. If you suspect your pet has any sort of infestation, schedule an appointment with your vet to rectify the matter so you and your pooch can continue enjoying the spring weather together.
Remember that you are not the only animals outside enjoying the warmer weather. Small, woodland creatures can pose a big bite risk to your pup so only choose well-traveled paths when adventuring outside and try to keep your pup out of any deep brush.
While working to protect your pet outdoors, don’t forget about common indoor dangers this spring. With the nice, warm weather, many of us are tempted to open a window or leave the door ajar, but keep in mind that this may be an open invitation for your dog to get a quick jail break in this season. Before you leave any windows cracked open, test your screens to ensure they haven’t come loose over the window and make sure your storm door or screen door can lock shut. Everyone wants to enjoy the cross breezes, but be sure that you don’t end up chasing a pup with three tails to the wind the next time you open a window.
Spring breezes often bring out spring cleaning and minor fixing up around many homes. Most cleaning products are toxic to your pooch so always close all pantry doors and never leave a bucket of cleaning solution unsupervised. One quick drink for your pup can lead to one expensive vet visit for you. With minor construction projects can come all sorts of paraphernalia that your pup would love to explore: paint, nails, staples, and power tools are all important items to keep away from any curious noses and paws!
Lastly, for your safety and theirs, be aware of any outside allergens that might be invading your home! Air conditioning and fans do a great job of circulating cool air but they can also transfer allergens all over your home. Changing your filters regularly and leaving your outdoor gear outside can go a long way in reducing the risk of allergens for you and your pet. Pet wipes can also be very useful in helping clean off your dog before they carry dirt and pollens throughout your home so try to keep some stocked right by your door as a reminder to wipe down any dirty coats or paws.
By keeping just a few safety precautions in mind, you and your pooch can enjoy the spring weather in comfort knowing that you are prepared and ready for any spring time hazards.
Head Trainer- Perfect Pooch
BA, CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator