Make It a Paws-itively Perfect Spring

By Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, CVJ

After being cooped up all winter, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors!  As the weather begins to warm up, both you and your pet will soon be finding yourselves outside enjoying the spring weather. And, while warmer weather may mean fun in the sun, there are many safety tips to consider ensuring a safe, enjoyable spring season!

As we prepare to shed our coats during the warmer temperatures, remember that your pet still adorns theirs. If you have a dog whose breed has a long, thick coat such as Golden Retriever, consider scheduling a springtime pampering session with a groomer.  A spring clip will help your pooch stay cool and will reduce the chances of overheating.  With the warm, muggy days ahead, keep your pet’s outdoor time limited and slowly increase their exposure/activities outdoors.  Our pets need to acclimate to the changing weather in order to effectively and safely adapt to the demands of hotter weather. Heat stroke is not just a summer emergency! Heat stroke incidence is actually high in the spring due to the sudden long days in the sun after the cooler winter months.  While outdoors, make sure your pet has plenty of available shade, breeze and fresh water.

Spring time means cleaning time! As we begin home cleaning regimes, use caution with any cleaning products that may come in contact with your pet. Keep cleaning products out of reach from your pet. Liquids may accidently be licked or ingesting which can lead to severe illness or death. Chemicals that contact skin/hair can be irritating and painful. And, just because a product is labeled as “natural” or “green” does not indicate that it’s safe for your pet.  Also, keep your pet in mind during spring yard and garden improvements. Use caution, or better yet just avoid, fertilizers and pesticides. Many plants, though eye pleasing, are toxic to dogs and cats so research your landscaping décor before planting. Use caution with indoor plants and flowers, especially lilies, especially if you have cats.

Along with the beautiful flowers, birds and butterflies, warmer weather also brings pesky insects and parasites to your yard and pet. See your family veterinarian for flea, tick and heartworm prevention.  If you wait until you have parasite problems, the issue becomes more costly and difficult to control.

What a great time of year! Play and plan smartly for your four-legged friends and help them have a safe, fun spring!

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