Simple safety tips to enjoy a stress-free spring with your furry friend
While unexpected illnesses and injuries can happen at any time during the year, some are more prevalent seasonally. Keep reading to learn about a few potential pet concerns to keep in mind as we spring into a new season.
April showers bring may flowers
Most pet owners know that certain plants are poisonous to pets (if you’re not sure, lists of toxic plants are just a web search away), but even your pet-safe blossoms can be troublesome to your pet. Dogs love to eat bones. And bone meal is often used as a fertilizer or supplement when planting bulbs. Eating both the bulb and the bone meal can make for a very, very sick dog. If you dilute most fertilizers with plenty of dirt or water, it’s often safe to use around pets (unless you have a small dog). Cat lovers, remember that lilies can cause kidney failure if ingested by cats.
It’s spring cleaning time, but household cleaning products introduce a number of toxins to the home. Soaps, bleach, polishes, and cleaners can irritate your pet’s skin and damage their gastrointestinal tract. Cleaning supplies, like a sponge or pipe cleaner, can also present problems when ingested by a curious pet. To thwart troubles before they start, opt for pet safe cleaning supplies, store unsafe chemicals out of paws’ reach, and keep your pet away from where you’re cleaning.
Stick it to slugs
Slugs are hard critters to love, especially when their slimy trails cut through your yard and destroy your plants and flowers. While you don’t want slugs around your house and garden, slug bait is extremely dangerous to your pet. The toxins in slug bait are often mixed with sugars to attract the slugs, but it also entices pets — even a small amount can be fatal. Ask your veterinarian about pet-safe slug control options.
It's not easy being green
Now that it’s warmer out, it’s time to show off that beautiful green lawn! Unfortunately, having the greenest grass on the block can mean using fertilizer that is poisonous and potentially fatal to pets. Keep your furry friend off the grass and away from any treated areas for at least 24 hours or opt for pet-safe products. Be cautious of organic fertilizer too — its captivating scent might tempt your dog to make a meal out of manure
Sly as a foxtail
It’s that time of year again: foxtail season. Foxtails can sneak up on your pet and cause serious problems because once they embed in your pet’s fur, they travel deeper into their body and can cause serious damage (ruptured eardrums and infections). Over 60% of foxtails are embedded in the ear, nose, or paw. Prevent foxtail problems by regularly examining your pet’s coat during foxtail season.
Did you spend your winter cozying up indoors? It’s hard to keep up on exercise when it’s so cold out, but it can lead to a little extra winter weight. Like humans, exercising more, watching food portions, and avoiding treats between meals can help your pet get back to their healthy weight.
Overweight pets are more likely to develop serious conditions like diabetes, respiratory and heart diseases, and joint problems. Check with your veterinarian first if you suspect that your pet has gained weight, and they’ll help you create a weight loss plan.
Pets are out and about more this time of year, so now is a great time to check if your pet is up to date with their flea and tick treatments and heartworm prevention medication. Talk to your veterinarian about which options are best for your pet.
Spring (dental) cleaning
I bet you didn’t know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month! In case you missed it, it’s a good time to get your dog or cat’s teeth cleaned. Periodontal disease is the most common disorder that affects cats and dogs. Dental disease can cause much more than just bad breath for your pet; it can cause tooth, bone, and gum loss and lead to heart disease.
Dog park etiquette 101
What better way to spend a sunny spring Saturday than with your favorite furry friend at the local dog park? Here are a few tips for your park trip:
- Study up on canine body language — know what both playful and aggressive behaviors look like.
- Leave toys your pet is unwilling to share at home.
- Make sure your dog comes when called — don’t let them give dogs entering the park an overwhelming welcome, and always respect pets who need their space.
- Know your dog’s “type” and avoid dogs they feel uncomfortable around. Don’t bring your dog to the park if they’re sick, behind on vaccinations, younger than 4 months old, or have any behavioral issues.