Temperatures rising, birds chirping and flowers blooming: they are sure signs that spring is officially here. The change in season creates an urge to start on home improvement projects, get active and be outdoors. After being cooped up all winter long, the same goes for your pets too. But, before getting the duster and cleaners out and enjoying the outdoors, it’s important to take precautions to help protect your pets from what the season brings. Below are a few tips on keeping them safe this spring:
Around the Home
- Spring Cleaning: Spring has become the traditional time in many households to purge unwanted items and clean the home from top to bottom. Many cleaners contain chemicals that may be harmful to pets, so it’s important to keep them out of harm’s way. To view a list of poisonous household products, click here. A few ways to work around this is to keep your pet secured outside when it’s nice out and leave the windows open to air out chemicals.
- Home Improvement: Fixer-upper products like paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to pets. Before embarking on home improvement projects to get your home in tip-top shape, be sure to read all labels to see if the products are safe to use around your pet. In addition, keep a close eye on nails, staples, blades and your tools to avoid injury and wrongful ingestion.
- Lawn Care & Gardening: Similar to household and home improvement products, it’s important to evaluate the products used to help keep your lawn and gardens green, healthy and lush. Ingredients in fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can be poisonous and are not meant for consumption. Store these products in a place where your pet can’t reach, and always follow the recommended waiting period before letting your pet back out on the yard.
Out and About
- Ensure a Safe Return: As temperatures rise, your pet will be outdoors with likely more opportunities to wander off. Being proactive, such as keeping your pet’s tag on at all times, will help ensure its safe return if that should happen. Make sure the tag includes the most up-to-date information, including your name, address and a phone number. Microchipping your pet will also help with easy detection if your pet is picked up by an animal shelter.
- Buckle Up: Some dogs love the feeling of wind blowing in their faces, but letting them ride in the beds of trucks or sticking their heads out of a moving-car window is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause ear or eye injuries. In addition, sudden stops and turns can cause major injury. To ensure your pet’s safety in a moving car, secure your pet in a crate or use a pet-specific seatbelt harness.
- Take Preventative Measures: Bugs will begin to emerge as the ground thaws, so make sure your pet is up-to-date on its medications, including flea and tick medications and heartworm prevention. If your pet isn’t already on these medications, you should ask your vet to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.
- Outdoor Eating: Many dogs like to eat grass, and doing so from time-to-time is normal. However, it’s a good idea to consult your vet if you notice your dog starts to eat grass in large quantities since they often turn to grass to remedy an upset stomach. If your dog likes to chew on other plants, be sure to check out this plant guide, as some could cause vomiting, diarrhea or even death.
- Exercise & Play: Take advantage of the rising temperatures by letting your dog out for regular exercise and play. Daily exercise and play helps with weight control, assists with digestion, can reduce destructive behavior and most importantly, promotes a healthy bond between the two of you.
Spring is a great time for you and your pet to get outdoors, but we all know that not everything can be prevented. Always call your veterinarian if your pet isn’t behaving quite like itself, has symptoms out of the ordinary or eats something harmful.