Spring Health Tips
Dogs tend to love spring because they get to spend more time outdoors. After being cooped up during the winter it is a joy for them to be able to take advantage of the lengthening and warming days to release all of their pent up winter energy. It is equally joyful for us watching our dogs have a good time. However the warmer days bring about certain health concerns so take a moment and make sure your dog is fully prepared for spring.
Depending on where you live mosquitoes start becoming more active. Generally heartworm preventative medication should be given year round to prevent infection because mosquitoes thrive year round in many parts of the country and as our climate continues to warm mosquitoes tend to stay active longer each year. Despite this some pet owners do not give heartworm preventatives in the winter so spring is a good time of year to make sure your dog has been checked for heartworm and is current on his heartworm preventative medication. The cost of heartworm preventative medication is a bargain when compared to how much it costs to treat heartworm disease.
In addition to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas become more prevalent as well. There are a variety of products available to combat these nuisances, so ask your veterinarian which one is best for your dog. Start early as preventing ticks and fleas from becoming a problem is far easier than dealing with a major flea infestation and get into the habit of regularly checking your dog for ticks. Ticks are typically found around the head, on the ears, neck, chest and forelegs although they can be found anywhere. Usually it is easier to find them by feeling for them instead of looking depending on how long your dog’s coat is.
Spring is a good time to check and make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Dog to dog contact increases in the spring and continues on into the summer months. Your dog is exposed to more infectious diseases during this time of year. For example many veterinary clinics start to see increased incidence of kennel cough in the spring because of increasing dog-to-dog contact.
Spring for some people means it is time to plan and start your garden. Selecting plants that are safe for dogs will go a long way in preventing toxicities from occurring. Keep in mind that some dogs can enjoy digging as much as we do so avoid planting toxic bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and certain lilies. Fertilizers and mulch can be toxic as well so store them in an inaccessible area like a shed when not in use and do not allow your dog in the garden area.
With spring generally comes spring cleaning. Be aware that many household cleaning products are harmful to dogs so follow instructions as posted on the label and store all chemicals out of reach when not in use. Check out our ten most common household toxicities for more information.
With spring rains come spring mud, keep your dog’s feet dry and your house clean by keeping a towel near the door and perhaps in your car as well.
Spring means fun times for dogs (and humans) so pick up the leash and go for a walk or hit the dog park. You are bound to notice a little spring in your dog’s steps.
Spring is here! What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the nice weather with your pooch? Tell us in the comments.