The end of winter means more time outdoors in the warm sunshine. Is your pet ready? Here are a few tips for keeping your pet healthy this spring.
Home & Garden
Many of us choose spring to clean out the clutter of our lives and spiff up the nooks and crannies of our homes. Be sure to use pet-friendly cleansers since your pet may wander into these newly freshened areas then later lick his paws. If you must use harsh chemicals or detergents, be sure to block the area from access until it is completely dry. Also, be sure to keep the cleansers out of your pet’s reach. Remember what they say about curiosity.
The lawn and garden beckon to us for feeding, treating and planting. Consider keeping your pet indoors while feeding and treating your lawn. Also, consider the types of plants you’ll be putting in your garden: Are the leaves poisonous? Will the plants require insecticides or fertilizers? If so, be sure to use pet-friendly lawn and garden chemicals if you can and keep your pet indoors until all treatments have dried. Always, always keep fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides where your pet cannot gain access to them.
Spring means Easter and with Easter comes baskets of chocolates, sweet treats, and fake Easter grass. Your pet can suffer from intestinal disorders from eating too many chocolate and sweets. Easter grass will have the same effect as Christmas tinsel: If ingested, it can become lodged within your pet’s digestive tract causing an obstruction, vomiting, dehydration, and finally result in surgical removal so please use caution and keep the grass vacuumed away.
If your pet has grown to be an adult or perhaps has become a senior adult, Spring is an excellent time to upgrade your pet’s food. If so, begin the change over by combining small amounts of the new with the standard fare. Slowly increase the amount of new pet food at the same time decreasing the other until your pet has fully adjusted to the new pet food.
With increased activity in warmer weather comes the increased need for fresh, clean water. Keep your pet’s water dish regularly freshened. If you prefer filtered water to drink, it is possible that your pet may appreciate it as well. Consider using filtered water for your pet.
Pet Treatments & Grooming
Many people become lax in wintertime with our pet’s flea and tick treatments. Spring is the time to get current so that your pet has the necessary protection when he goes outdoors. Be sure to vacuum your carpets and rugs often as fleas are prone to fall off your pet, into the carpet, breed, and make both you and your pet pretty miserable.
With Spring comes the shedding of that thick winter coat. Consider brushing your pet a little more than usual to help prevent hairballs and matted fur. After a foray out of doors, be sure to wipe your pet’s paws to remove dirt, chemicals, and pollen that could cause irritation later. Also, it will prevent your pet from ingesting any unknown substances that were unintentionally carried home.
Intestinal parasites – tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms – are very common in Springtime and are easily contracted, from fleas as well as from someone else’s pet. Consider implementing a regimen of worm prevention medications that will also prevent Heart Worms. This should be discussed with your vet for more direction.
Spring is a good time to check your pet’s toys and replace any that have broken, split, or have otherwise become damaged. You don’t want your pet ingesting any small parts that may be contained on the inside of the toy and you certainly don’t want him injuring his mouth on a broken toy.
It’s also time to make certain your pet’s collar is in the best possible shape. Check to see if it is worn or frayed in such a way that your pet could easily remove it or it could fall off. That collar is your pet’s identification and the only way the neighbors know who to call if your pet strays and becomes lost.
Severe Weather Plan
Finally, do you have a severe weather plan that includes your pet? If severe weather strikes – tornado, hurricane, or flash flood – do you know whether the shelter to which you would run would accept pets? Don’t wait until it’s time to evacuate to find out. You can always change your strategy but once the worse occurs, it is too late.