The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the temperatures have finally stayed well above freezing for a consistent stretch of time. Spring has sprung! Although it might be an exaggeration to say that we’re all about to run out our front doors, singing “Spring Fever” like the reincarnation of Elvis, we all know that humans and animals alike thrill to the warmer weather. However, before we go gallivanting around the town (or park), there are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure our furry friends stay happy and healthy in the warmer months.
Start by deep cleaning all food and water dishes, litter boxes, and kennels. Wash pet beds thoroughly; you can’t imagine the kinds of things they’ve kept hidden in there! If you’re ambitious and want to do a general spring cleaning of your entire house, place your pet in a separate room. Even cleaning supplies that are labeled all-natural can be harmful to animals.
Inspect your dog’s leash, harness, and collar for any tears, as even the smallest tear can break suddenly. Make sure that the fit is still good, and that it hasn’t grown too loose or too tight. Much like goldilocks, it needs to fit *just* right.
Please make sure your beloved pet is up to date on their vaccines and continues a flea and tick treatment. The warm weather makes those little buggers dance a jig, too. With that in mind, don’t forget the importance of heartworm prevention. Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites and can be quite dangerous to animal health.
Much like their human counterparts, animals need to ease into exercise after a winter spent cooped up inside. Although spring temperatures won’t get nearly as high as summer, it’s important to bring along plenty of water when spending time outside and find a shady spot to rest and avoid heat exhaustion. Always check for ticks and keep your pets on their tick medication year-round.
At home, avoid planting poisonous flowers (like azaleas, daffodils, and oleander, to name a few). Keep your pets, and small children, safe by placing a fence around your pool. Consider leaving a bowl of fresh water nearby, to limit the temptation to drink from the pool. The salt and chlorine can lead to stomach issues in animals.
Remember, wild animals are also excited to be out and about in the warmer weather, so be aware of your surroundings when out with your animals. Never leave pets, especially small ones, unattended outside, even in the relative safety of your backyard. In addition, it’s important to spay and neuter all pets, as spring is also mating season.
Sadly, animals can also suffer from seasonal allergies, and spring is prime allergy season. Some of their symptoms will be familiar to humans—itching and scratching, respiratory issues. But they also may bite themselves, develop a skin infection (often due to repeated scratching), shed excessively, and be plagued by chronic ear infections. You may also observe them licking their paws more than normal. Please see their veterinarian immediately, so that they can help you manage these symptoms as quickly and easily as possible.
To help alleviate allergies, it’s best to avoid walking or playing outside when pollen levels are at their highest (early morning and late afternoon). During these times, keep animals entertained inside. If you have air filters in your house, make sure you’re changing them regularly. It also helps to use air conditioning or a dehumidifier, as well as vacuuming weekly. Your veterinarian may also suggest regular baths, especially for your canine pal.
Mostly fun and games
Despite these cautionary tales, there’s still plenty to rejoice about. Springtime is a time for adventure, whether that be a new toy to play with outside, or new furry friends at the park. It’s a time for enjoying the sunsets, now that they don’t come with a serious drop in temperature. It’s a time for enjoying meals outside and road trips. By spending a little time preparing for the upcoming warmer months, both two-legged and four-legged friends alike will enjoy the season all that much more!