Let’s face it. Winter was long this year. We are all excited to be able to say Spring has finally sprung. With the change of season, thoughts turn toward Easter and other holiday celebrations, spring cleaning and starting those home improvement projects.
It’s also time to think of our pets. Springtime may present some unique safety challenges for our loved ones. Our pets are part of the family and deserve to be cared for and protected. As their guardians, it’s important for us to know what to do – and what not to do – in order to keep them safe. We’ve compiled a short list of things to consider this Spring season:
Festively Celebrating the Holidays
Keep those beautiful lilies and any Easter candy in check—chocolate goodies may be harmful to cats and dogs, and all true lilies are fatal if ingested by cats. Make sure decorations are not being chewed or ingested and always keep an eye on how your pet is behaving near the newly brought-out décor. Be mindful that kitties, even ferrets, love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration. Monitoring may save their life.
Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many a household, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all cleaning products, even all natural ones, contain chemicals that can be harmful to your pets. When you start your spring cleaning projects, be sure to use pet-friendly cleaning supplies. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.
Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or even chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.
*If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
Screening the Home
You probably can’t wait to open the windows and air your house out after a long winter. Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring. Unfortunately, we also unknowingly put our pets at risk when we do—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through un-screened windows. Double check to make sure all window screens are secure and in good condition.
Fasten your Seat Belts!
While most dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the beds of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows can be dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause serious injury, or even worse! Keep your pet riding in cars secure either in a crate or by wearing a seat-belt harness designed specifically for them. It could save their life.
Growing Gardens & Greening Grass
Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients may be dangerous if your pet ingests them. Always store these products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Make sure that if you do spray, your pet doesn’t spend excessive time outside in that area. If need be, walk your pet away from the area of concern to do their daily business (or don’t spray!).
The Season of Allergies
Like us, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollen. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats show their symptoms through increased itching, minor sniffling and sneezing, or life-threatening anaphylactic shock to insect bites and stings. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s not something to gamble with and most medications we can take for allergies our pets cannot.
We’ve all heard the expression “April showers bring May flowers”— but what is neglected to be mentioned is the coming onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on annual heart-worm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet. You can even check out our older blog “Buggin’ Out” for more natural alternatives or additions to the plan you have your pet already on.
Warmer sunnier days mean more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to adventure off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information. You can visit the store for an updated name tag and it takes only minutes to make!
After reading this, you can rest assured knowing that you have the tips and tools to keep your pets safe this Spring. Of course, if you have any other questions or concerns, we are always just a quick drive away and can help you address those needs.