Spring Time Hazards
Spring Time Hazards
Last week we touched on some great spring time activities for you and your pooch. This week I want to mention a few things you need to be aware of going into the spring season and how to best protect your pup. You’ve managed to survive the ice, salt, sleet and snow this season and hopefully you and your pup are excited to check out some new pet friendly hangouts! With each fun new activity and project please be aware of the potential risks to your dog and take the necessary steps to ensure their safety.
If you and your dog love to enjoy the outdoors and plan to hike and explore this spring, you should keep in mind that dogs do not effectively sweat to cool down their body temperature and many breeds cannot tolerate the heat. Plan to explore early in the morning or later in the evening if you can, and pack plenty of water (many dogs can even carry their own water once fitted with a proper backpack like these http://www.ruffwear.com/dog_packs). Depending on the terrain, you may also need to consider paw protection and even skin protection for some light skinned breeds. Keep in mind that dogs can get sunburn, too. Be careful not to let your dog drink out of any lakes, streams or puddles, as these can be breeding grounds for diseases like leptospirosis. Check with your vet to see if any extra vaccines are recommended.
Whether your dog likes hiking with you or hanging out at a fun outdoor café, ticks and fleas are everywhere this time of year. Your dog can even pick them up in your backyard! Proper flea and tick prevention is key. We recommend using a monthly topical treatment every month along with regular skin checks. Always check your dog’s skin when you get home from a walk, especially in high grass areas like Valley Forge Park where deer often hangout. You can part your pooch’s fur around the base of their tail and behind their ears to get a quick look for fleas and flea dirt (hint: flea dirt turns reddish on a wet paper towel while regular dirt turns brown). That combined with regular brushing should keep you on top of any developments. And remember: don’t wash your dog for two days before and after applying a topical like Frontline Plus©. You should also use a monthly heartworm preventative. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes so it is especially important to be on top of your monthly preventative this season.
If you are considering working on your garden or home this spring, you may want to think about the products and tools you are using. Many insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers and mulches are toxic to pets. Ask your local home improvement store for pet safe options like Ecosmart© or Trugreen©. Some ornamental flowers are also potentially harmful so be careful before you plant. The ASPCA has some great info on plants and risks- http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/17-poisonous-plants. Meanwhile, indoor renovations can come with a whole other set of potential problems. You may want to board your pet if it’s a big project that will require people coming in and out for days, as stress and escape behaviors can occur. For smaller projects, like painting, a baby gate could be enough to separate your pup from your project.
Warm weather means more people and dogs out to meet and mingle with. It also means more critters. Depending on your location, you may need to watch out for snakes, spiders, bees, deer or foxes and take steps to prevent contact between your dog and these potential dangers. If you ever suspect your dog may have a bite of an unknown origin or a reaction to an insect bite, head to your vet for care. Bee allergies are as common in dogs as they are in people. Most animals will avoid your dog if they can help it, but I’m sure we’ve all met the dog unfortunate enough to get sprayed by a skunk. Accidents happen, but you can be prepared to deal with the aftermath (http://www.natures-miracle.com/ skunk odor removal works well by the way).
No matter what you and your pooch choose to do this season, always keep your pet’s best interest in mind and play it safe. Any plan involving your pet should include alternate options and potential emergency plans. Luckily most of us have smart phones and the internet might be in your pocket making finding an emergency vet much easier and faster than it used to be. Your dog depends on you to take them out for fun adventures and for their safety, with just a little forethought you can ensure you and your pooch make the most of this spring.
Head Trainer- Perfect Pooch
BA, CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator