Spring Animal Wellness Tips
Spring is as joyous for pets as it is for pet owners. Now, that the snow is melting and warmer days are here, dogs and cats can spend more time outside. Many owners of domestic pets know that their furry friends need time outside to stretch; but they may not realize that dogs and cats need a minimum of 30 minutes of daily activity to stay fit. Without enough exercise, pet health will suffer leading to pet obesity, arthritis, respiratory diseases and heart conditions. And, there are already over 50 million overweight dogs and 56 million cats in the United States! (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2017 statistics).
Here are a few spring season pet wellness tips to keep in-mind:
Your Pets Will Be Playing Outside
Spring is the perfect time of year for a dog - it's not too cool; but not too hot. Being outside allows dogs to interact with other puppies and older dogs, breathe-in new smells and touch the soft grass.
For homeowners who are new to being a responsible pet owner, we encourage them to install a dog fence in the backyard so, dogs of all breeds can freely roam the backyard - safely. Speaking of safety, don't purchase shock collars or invisible dog fences. An invisible dog fence hurts the dog; and for the animal, it doesn't know why it is being harmed, it just knows that it is too afraid to keep moving. A humane dog enclosure is the right idea for securing domestic animals in the yard while keeping out wildlife such as deer and coyotes plus feral cats and homeless dogs.
Even cats need to spend time outside this spring season. Cats need just as much exercise and socialization as dogs; and with a cat enclosure, cats can explore the backyard and play with other animals without interfacing with wild animals.
Gardeners: Watch What You Grow In Spring
Spring is a favorite season for gardeners to start planting in flowerbeds. But, some plants are toxic to animals and can make them violently ill. There are over 700 plants that pose a threat to domestic breeds including:
Toxic Plants To Dogs
Toxic Plants To Cats
Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
You don't have to give up your gardening hobby because of your adopted pet; but you may want to plant away from the dog fence or cat enclosure - considering some of these flowers are considered to be deer resistant plants. For a complete list of poisonous plants for dogs and cats, see the ASPCA's website and talk to Animal Control.
In addition to plants, gardeners need to be careful what yard chemicals they use to spray grass. Check labels and make sure the ingredients will not harm your dog or cat.
It's Time For Spring Cleaning
As with babies, homeowners need to keep household goods away from dogs and cats that may be harmful to them in large dosages. Most pet owners know not to give dogs chocolate, nuts, raisins and grapes; but they may not think about cleaning items. Keep these items away from your pets:
- Carpet Freshener and Shampoo
- Toilet Cleaners
- Vinegar and water
- Fabric softener sheets
- Cold and flu medications
This goes for you, too. After long periods of outdoor activity, please do a thorough tick check on your pets by gently combing and viewing around the legs, head, neck and ears.
Ticks are most active in the warm months beginning in March; and generally appear in gardens, forests and grassy areas. They tend to hide under leaves for warmth and will feed on warm-blooded mammals given the chance. A tick bite is no laughing matter. Although not all ticks are harmful, some [deer] ticks may be carrying Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other vector diseases. Pet owners will need to check dogs and cats for ticks underneath the fur after time outside; and know how to effectively remove a tick from pets.
Fleas may also become a problem this season. If your dog starts scratching red blotchy patches of skin, they may have dog fleas. There are flea collars that can be purchased at local pet stores; and your veterinarian may have other suggestions such as special dog shampoos.
Update Dog Vaccinations
Spring is a good time to check-in with your vet and make sure your dog is up-to-date with shots. We choose Spring because dogs socialize more with other dogs continuing through Summer; and this is when dog bites and dog fights most occur.
This is a great season to be a pet owner! Enjoy the great outdoors with your beloved pets; take them to dog parks; and play with them in the backyard.