Every season has its own set of concerns and potential dangers to be aware of when you’re out and about with your dog. On top of that, there are always season-specific things to do for maintenance and to prepare for the upcoming season. Here is a spring dog safety guide to help you keep your dog safe this spring:
1. Clean Up After Winter
Depending on where you live, winter can be long. When warmer temperatures finally start to arrive, it’s always a good idea to take some time to clean up to prepare for the next season.
Clean Up Debris and Hazardous Winter Chemicals
Between managing snow and ice on the road and on your property, harsh chemicals are common in the winter. They’re also one of the winter dog dangers dog owners should know.
And, they often stick around as winter gives way to warmer spring temperatures. An important addition to any spring dog safety guide is to take some time to clean up any rock salt, anti-freeze, debris, and other hazardous material that are left from winter.
Clean Up Your Yard
As the snow melts away and warm temperatures set in, you’ll likely discover some surprises around your yard. Whether they’re from your dog or another animal, you’ll want to grab a pooper-scooper or a shovel and take some time to clean any piles of feces out of your yard.
Dog feces can host a number of bacteria, pests, and diseases. Many of these diseases can be passed from dog to dog and some fo them can even be passed from dog to human! From a health standpoint, it’s a good idea to clean up.
Plus, no one wants to step in anything and track it inside. This is particularly true if you have a family with children or multiple dogs. That’s a lot of extra feet and paws running around the yard – someone is bound to step in something! Taking some time to clean up the yard can help keep people and animals from tracking it into your house.
It’s also a good idea to clear away any piles of debris in your yard and to clear out any overgrown brush, fallen branches, and other organic debris. These are prime areas for fleas, ticks, and other pests, which are some of the main dangers included in a spring dog safety guide. This type of preventive landscaping is a great way to prepare your dog for tick season.
Beware of Hazardous Spring Cleaning Products and Toxic Plants
Before you jump into spring cleaning around your home, check the labels on the products you use. Although many of the chemicals used in cleaning products are effective for cleaning the surfaces of your home, not all of them are safe or recommended for homes with pets.
If you have a green thumb and enjoy gardening, it’s also a good idea to look into the plants you’re growing, any fertilizers you’re using, and more to make sure they are also safe for your dog. There are many poisonous plants to dogs, so you want to make sure you’re not actively trying to grow any of them in your spring garden.
You can also use some dog-friendly gardening tips to make sure your dog is safe and that your garden is safe from your dog. This is particularly true if your dog is prone to digging or is known to get into your plants and roll around!
2. Keep Up With Preventive Treatments
Heartworm, fleas, ticks, and other parasites can all wreak havoc on your dog’s health. Flea infestations are nothing to joke about. Ticks can cause a lot of issues including Lyme Disease in dogs. If left untreated, heartworm in dogs can become fatal.
The best treatment for these issues is to prevent them in the first place. One of the best ways to protect your dog from fleas and other pests is to use prevention year-round because preventive treatments will only work if they are in place before flea and tick season arrives or a bite or infection occurs.
There are plenty of preventive treatments available. One of the most popular is a topical treatment applied monthly or every couple of months. Your vet can help you determine what products are the best for you and your dog. Also, if your dog has missed any treatments or is due for any vaccinations, your vet can help you get back on schedule.
3. Watch Your Dog for Signs of Allergies
Some dogs are prone to developing allergies. Since spring is a prime time for allergies to show themselves, pay attention to your dog’s skin and coat for patches of redness or irritation, patches of missing fur, and dry skin.
You should be checking your dog regularly for fleas and ticks anyway, so make sure you’re also looking for these issues as well. If your dog does show signs of suffering from allergies like itchiness, redness, sneezing, excessive scratching and licking, and more, there are ways to help your dog survive seasonal allergies.
Starting with a visit to the vet is always a good idea, especially if allergies are new territory for you and your dog. From there, you can wipe them down with a damp cloth when they come inside to help remove allergens, clean and change your air filters regularly, and also clean up around your home to help remove allergens.
4. Check Your Window Screens
When warmer weather sets in, it’s tempting to open up the windows and finally let in some fresh air. Before you do, make sure you check your window screens. Screens should be in good repair and fit snugly in the window. If there are missing screens or some window screens are damaged, it’s a good time to replace them.
Damaged or missing screens can be an easy escape to the outdoors for your dog. Aside from being an undesirable behavior, this may not be as big of a deal if your windows lead to a fenced yard. However, if it doesn’t, your dog could run off and get lost, hit by a car, and more.
5. Update Microchip Information
As the weather improves, you and your dog will likely be spending more time outside. This is a good time to make sure the contact information on your dog’s microchip is accurate in case they would get out, run away, or get lost.
If your dog does not have a microchip, it’s a good time to consider getting one. There are many benefits of microchipping your dog and getting them home safely and quickly if they get lost is one of them.
6. Get the Grooming Brushes Ready
Many dogs tend to shed heavier than normal as the seasons change. Brushing your dog more often than normal can help remove loose fur, work out tangles, and prevent mats from forming.
Plus, brushing your dog before giving them a bath is one of the useful dog grooming tips. Not only will this help make your dog more comfortable, but it will also keep a lot of the loose fur contained to your brushes instead of all around your house.
There are several types of grooming brushes available to help you handle your dog’s coat no matter what type it is. Getting the right mix can help make grooming your fluffball a breeze. Depending on your dog’s coat type, it may also be a good idea to visit the groomer for a seasonal clip or trim.
7. Ease Back Into Heavy Exercise
With shorter days and cold weather, it’s likely you and your dog were not as active as usual during winter. It may be tempting to jump back into everything full-force on the first warm, sunny day, but you may want to take it easy at first. After a period of inactivity or lower activity, jumping straight into heavy exercise can cause injuries in both you and your dog.
Instead of potentially injuring you both, take it easy and build your stamina and endurance back up gradually. This is particularly true for older pets who often need to take things slower and have time to adjust to changes. If your puppy is still growing and their bones are still developing, they shouldn’t be doing strenuous or high-impact exercise anyway.
8. Review Your Dog’s Gear
You should be keeping an eye on the things your dog uses and replacing them when needed. But, spring is a great time to review your dog’s gear again. Check their crate, bed, bowls, leash, harness, collar, and toys.
Look for anything that is broken or fraying and needs to be replaced. After all, spring cleaning isn’t just for you; it’s also a great time to throw out and replace toys and gear that are on their last leg.
9. Avoid Sticks
When you think about a game of fetch, it’s common to picture someone throwing a stick for their dog to chase. Although this has been a go-to for dog owners for years upon years, it turns out sticks aren’t the best for our precious pups and can actually be harmful to their health!
Sticks can splinter in your dog’s mouth and cut them. If your dog likes to chew on sticks, pieces can break off, be swallowed, and cause an obstruction in their digestive tract. Also, sticks can be covered in mold, which is not always easy to see, and can cause your dog to have an upset stomach, vomit, and other issues.
Instead of relying on the traditional stick, bring a toy like a rubber ball, frisbee, or something else to use in case your dog wants to play a game of fetch. Not only are these toys a better, safer option than a stick, but they are also easy to clean.
This spring dog safety guide is a good start to help keep your dog safe and comfortable as the seasons change. A check-in with your vet can help you get any tests or medications you need and can help determine if there is anything else your dog needs as warmer temperatures set in.