We’re willing to bet that both you and your dog are excited about the return of warm weather. Now that spring is well underway, there are more opportunities to get outside, have cookouts with friends and family, and maybe even take some weekend trips.
Of course, in order to make sure this season is great for you and your pet, you should keep an eye out for these spring-time hazards for dogs.
Flowers and fertilizers. Avid gardeners look forward to the appearance of green plant bulbs in the spring, but certain beautiful flowers can be highly toxic to dogs. Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, crocuses, and lily of the valley can all cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal bleeding if your dog eats them.
To make matters even worse, some garden fertilizers, such as those containing iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese or molybdenum, can be toxic to dogs. If you’re a gardener or know that certain toxic plants grow near your home, closely monitor your dog when he is outside, and call your vet if you see any sign of gastrointestinal distress. You can find a list of safe and unsafe plants on my website rrruffhouse.com
Easter candy. You’ve probably already heard that chocolate is bad for your dog, but other kinds of Easter candies, such as jelly beans and marshmallow peeps, aren’t particularly good for your four-legged friend either. Keep all Easter candy out of reach of your pet, and throw away sweet-smelling wrappers somewhere that your dog won’t be able to get them.
BBQ food. For some, spring signals the start of outdoor grilling season. If you and your family are hosting a cookout this season, make sure your dog is kept away from the hot grill and the food table. Asks guests not to feed scraps to your pooch, no matter how cute she looks. Certain barbecue fixtures like kebab skewers, alcohol, corn on the cob, and bones are either poisonous or pose a choking hazard to your dog.
Spring cleaning. There’s nothing wrong with doing some deep cleaning when the weather gets nice, but many of the chemicals in common household cleaners are toxic to your dogs. All cleaning products should be properly sealed and stored out of your dog’s reach when not in use, or consider using basic homemade substitutions, such as baking soda and lemon, to make your own cleaning products.
Joy rides. It’s a lot of fun to see your dog sticking his head out the car window and enjoying the drive, but unfortunately, letting your dog loose in the car puts him at risk for being hit by debris or bugs, and it creates a distraction for the driver. Set up a crate in the back of the car when you want your pet to come along, and never leave him in the car for an extended period of time on warm days.
Parasites. Fleas, ticks, and heartworm are just some of the parasites pet owners need to watch out for during the spring and summer months. The specific parasites that your pet is susceptible to depends on where you live, so talk to your vet to find out what parasite preventives you need to use.
Allergies. Yep, like humans, dogs can also experience spring-time allergies to plants, grasses, pollens, and other seasonal irritants. In some cases, dogs also develop allergies to bee and wasp stings. Talk to your vet if you notice that your dog is experiencing itchy skin, swelling, hair loss, or respiratory problems.
Over-exertion. It’s common for both humans and their four-legged companions to get less exercise during the cold winter months and increase their level of physical activity in the spring. However, dogs and humans are also susceptible to injuries from overexertion if they try to do too much, too quickly.
If you’ve decided to start letting your dog dash around the dog park or have committed to running with her every day, build up the level of activity gradually. On particularly warm days, keep an especially close eye on your dog to prevent heat stroke. Make sure she has access to plenty of shade and water.
Any sudden behavioral change, such as a decrease in activity, is an indication that your dog may be dealing with a medical issue.
But as long as you watch out for your dog, there’s no reason why the two of you can’t have a great spring. Get outside and enjoy!