Now that spring has officially sprung, it’s time we begin to prepare our homes, our bodies, and our goals for the new season. Often times we forget that our pets too need some extra care for the change in seasons. Before you get carried away with the season’s chores, take a minute to understand the potential hazards that may be lying around.
Easter decorations and treats
We all know chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, but this time of year is when they can accidentally ingest it. Chocolate and other Easter treats usually lay around hidden, making it a perfect opportunity for unsupervised puppies or kitties to get into. Decorations such as lilies can be fatal to cats if ingested. Also, kittens love to play with and chew the colorful plastic grass, which can obstruct the digestive tract, leading to vomiting and dehydration.
Spring cleaning is one of the major chores that comes with the season, but this is also a potential hazard for younger pets. Cleaning products have harmful chemicals for animals, even the all natural ones. We are often distracted when cleaning our home, making it hard to supervise our pets. Next time you’re on a cleaning spree, make sure all cleaning supplies are out of reach of your pets.
Just like humans, pets can get allergies in the spring as well. Foods, dust, plants, and pollen all cause allergic reactions such as itching, sniffling, and sneezing. The best treatment for your pets is prevention. Bathing your animal once a week will help relieve itching and help clean them of any allergens. If dust is the problem, make sure to wash your pet’s bedding once a week and to vacuum twice a week. If you suspect food to be a problem, speak with your vet about possible dietary changes.
Grow your garden with care
Springtime also means you’ll be doing a lot more yard work. Fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides are helpful for growing your gardens, but can be harmful to your pets, if ingested. Always put your gardening products in a safe, out-of-reach place that you know your animals can’t get into. Certain plants can also be harmful, like rhododendron and azaleas, which have proven to be fatal if eaten. For a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out the ASPCA’s website.
Along with flowers, spring brings an onslaught of insects out. Make sure you are keeping up with your pet’s heartworm medications and their tick and flea medication. Ask your vet about prevention plan that is best for your pet.
One of our biggest fears as pet owners are losing our furry loved one and not being able to find him. Every year, animal shelters receive lost or stranded dogs and cats and unfortunately, a small percentage are returned home. To make sure this never happens to your pets, here are a few tips you can do to ensure your dog doesn’t end up at an animal shelter, unidentified.
1. Collar and Identification tag
This is probably one of the more obvious and traditional forms of identification, but your dogs and cats should have a collar with ID tags at all times, especially if they are outdoors often. Make sure the collar is a non-choke collar as those are dangerous and can lead to injury. Your pets should be wearing these collars at all times because you may never know when they are going to get out, especially if you’re not home most of the day.
Microchipping your dog should not be the only form of identification, but definitely, should be a backup. Collars and ID tags can easily fall off or be taken off. Microchipping is a permanent and effective form of ID. The cost is definitely worth the piece of mind.
3. Keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced location
Squirrel! If you’ve ever seen UP or have owned a dog, you know they can be unpredictable, especially around fast moving, furry creatures. It’s best to be safe and leave your dog in an enclosed space or tied up when they are unsupervised. Even some of the best behaved dogs can’t help themselves when they see a squirrel dart up a tree.
4. Keep your cat indoors
Cats are very sneaky, one moment they are there and next they are gone. The best way to keep track of them is by keeping them indoors and out of trouble. Less than two percent of cats are claimed by their owners at shelters. Also, you never know what other animals are out there hunting them like dogs or coyotes.
5. Teach your pet a reliable recall command
Pets get out, regardless of how careful you are. Calling their name over and over again with no response is not helping anyone. Come up with a recall command that is not often used and train them to respond to that word. “Here” or “come” are fairly common recall command words, try using ones that are not so popular like “hier,” which is German for here. When he responds correctly, reward him with treats and pets.