As the weather starts to warm up here in the Southern Hemisphere, spring time brings changes to our day to day lives, and this presents new issues for your pup. These dangers are largely avoidable with a little forethought and planning, but they definitely vary and can be easy to miss or just not think about right away. To keep your buddy safe, here are a few things to think about.
More sun and warmth and longer days change how we go about our lives. You might be tempted to get out and about with your dog in tow - great! But beware, after a long winter cooped up, your dogs condition may have deteriorated a bit from less activity. Make sure you increase the length of your walks slowly. Shorter runs and hikes and gentle games can be built upon over time as their muscles improve and joints gain flexibility.
These days a lot more public spaces are accommodating to dogs. While this gives us many more options of things to do with our pets, be mindful of your surroundings. Check the floors of eateries for anything harmful to dogs, and always bring your dog their own water bowl instead of using any communal ones available - you can’t be sure how safe the water is.
Spring is also the time many people take stock of what needs to get done. It’s a good time to check the quality of your pups collar and lead for safety while you’re getting into spring cleaning. But with spring cleaning your animals are exposed to common cleaning products more often. Bleach, ammonia and even natural cleaners can present a danger. Keep your dog locked away until all surfaces are fully dry.
Other big jobs are undertaken this time of year, like car maintenance - antifreeze has a sweet scent and taste and dogs can be very attracted to it. This is often fatal upon ingestion. Make sure it is never where your dog might get to it. Gardening really pays off the most in spring, but soils and composts can be poisonous to your dog, and so can slug pellets. Be mindful of where your dog can get to unsupervised. You should also familiarise yourself with poisonous flowers and plants so you can avoid planting these.
Dangers in nature
Spending more time outdoors brings with it exposure to more nature. Insect numbers are exploding at the moment, so your pet will definitely come into contact with them. Things like Bees pose an allergy risk, fleas are a regular pet owner’s nightmare and mosquito's carry heart-worm. Check your dogs for ticks when you spend any time in grassy or wooded areas. Make sure your dog is flea’d, wormed, vaccinated and VERY importantly - fixed. Spring is breeding season and our shelters are already full of unwanted puppies.
Water can be a hazard too. Don’t let your pets drink from stagnant puddles that may make them sick. People tend to get pools prepped around now. Keep chemicals safely away, check your fences are safe and make sure fresh water is closely available so they aren’t tempted to drink from the pool.
While we are enjoying the extra sun, we need to be mindful of it. Dogs can be very sensitive to heat. Never leave you dog alone in the car, and make sure they always have access to shade and water. UV rays, even those from napping near a window, can put your dogs at risk of skin cancers. White coats and pale skin around noses mean your pet is particularly susceptible.
Pets are, like humans, prone to seasonal allergies from dust, pollen and mold. Symptoms look similar, with sneezing, coughing, scratching and chewing. If you suspect your dog is suffering with allergies or may have gotten into something dangerous, your vet should be your first stop.