Winter is officially over, and the spring (aka allergy) season is already underway. Along with the nicer weather and abundance of patio dining that we can look forward to in the weeks ahead, there are some other conditions that we as dog owners need to prepare for as well. Here are 5 tips to keep you and your pet safe this spring.
1. Protect your dog from mosquitos!
Muggy weather is paradise for those little blood-suckers! Unfortunately, mosquito bites are going to happen from time to time, so make sure your dog is always current on his heartworm prevention. Remember, once heartworm is contracted, it is both costly and painful to treat. To help you remember to give your dog is monthly pill, set up an automatic reminder on your phone or mark your calendar.
For many, the winter months are mostly spent indoors. Now that the weather is getting nicer, it’s tempting to take Fido out for a long run to help him shed those extra ounces he might have picked up while he was snuggled up on the couch to stay warm. But make sure you ease back into it. Your dog’s legs are much shorter than yours (in most cases) and, like any runner, he could injure himself if he overdoes it. My advice is to gradually increase the length and pace of your daily walks until he’s conditioned to handle a long run.
3. Keep your dog hydrated and cool.
Oh, patio weather, how we love you! One of my favorite things to do in the spring is to head out to one of the awesome pet-friendly patios around DFW with my dog in tow. But it makes me sad when I see a dog laying in the sun, panting his head off, with no shade or water in sight. Or worse, someone who is running a dog way past his comfort zone. Dogs can get overheated quickly, so make sure that when you’re out and about with your pet, that s/he’s got a spot in the shade to rest and a bowl of water nearby. And if it’s especially sunny, put a little sunscreen on your dog’s nose. (Yes, dogs can get sunburned too!)
4. Keep those leashes on!
I know this will annoy those dog owners who have perfectly trained dogs with a 100% reliable recall. But we’ve all seen way too many news stories of dogs being shot because they appeared to be lunging or simply because they were off leash and someone got scared. In the spring, many dog owners take their dogs hiking or to parks to play and enjoy the beautiful weather. But if your dog takes off after a squirrel or runs up to someone to say hi, you’re putting your dog at risk of being hurt by someone you don’t know. Unless your dog is safely confined in an off-leash dog park or other fenced in area, please keep those leashes on. Nobody wants to see more dogs hurt or killed because someone who thought they were “in danger” and reacted violently.
Spring cleaning can bring out lots of chemicals that your dog shouldn’t digest. Most dogs will stay away from anything with a strong odor, but what smells stinky to us may smell wonderful to them! Make sure that if you need to take a break from cleaning, put your cleaners and buckets and towels out of reach of your dog, or close off the room so that your dog can’t go in to inspect your progress. For spring planting, please check your mulch and lawn fertilizers – and especially pest control – to make sure that it’s not toxic to your dogs. Even if they don’t intend to eat it, they could step on it and then lick it off their paws. Better safe than sorry!
There you go – five tips to help you and your pet make the most of the upcoming glorious weather. Do you have any additional tips to share? Please share them in the comments below!