Spring! Finally, the sun is coming out (sometimes), and the big winter jacket can make its way into the closet in another week or two. It’s the season of new life! The beauty of blooming flowers, the mild temperatures, and light, drizzly rains. Nothing to worry about here, right? Unfortunately, no. Mother Nature, nurturing as she may be, doesn’t ever make our existence truly easy. Spring comes with its own pet-averse conditions that make it tougher on our furry family members. While the weather might not be as extreme as it is in the summer & winter, there are other natural occurrences that can make life tough on our pets that we need to keep a close eye on.
Spring is the best time to get heartworm prevention started, if your pet isn’t already on a year-round cycle. The mosquitos start waking up and making their presence known in the spring, and they’re the main transmitters of this parasite to dogs and cats. Heartworm treatment is expensive for dogs, and there’s no treatment available for cats, so prevention is the best method!
Every pet owner’s other favorite pests, fleas and ticks, rear their ugly and tiny little heads around this time of year. They’re looking for a nice fresh feast of cat or dog skin, so getting them on a preventative medicine routine is the best bet, because it’s harder to get rid of them once they’re in your house than it is to just stop them from getting there in the first place.
These pests can put your pets at risk of infectious diseases, so this is also a good time of year to renew your pet’s vaccines. This time can be like flu season for our pets—all the icky disease carriers are coming out into nature, and like with flu shots for us, it’s much better to prevent the diseases than it is to treat them.
If you’re an observer of Easter, it’s important to keep in mind that pets are very curious, and want to put just about anything they find in their mouths! Be careful when hiding Easter eggs and candy for your little ones—you certainly don’t want the dog munching on chocolate or plastic egg shells! It might be best to put your pup in another room or outside while you conduct your egg hunt!
Now the next … hold on … -sniffle- … -sniffle- …AH-CHOO! …sorry about that, seasonal allergies just got the best of me for a second, there. Those nasty pollens really do a number on me! But, you might not know that your pets can be just as susceptible to seasonal allergies as you are. It’s a bummer to realize, but you might not be the only creature in the house with a sniffly & stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and more.
Symptoms of seasonal allergies for our pets may not be as obvious to us, since they can’t tell us how to feel, but you should look for: Dry skin/increased scratching, excessively licking paws, ears, and tail area, rubbing their head face, eyes, and ears on the ground, runny eyes or nose, increased paw chewing, excessive sneezing, snoring, or ear infections. If you think your pet may suffer from seasonal allergies, you can have your veterinarian give skin or blood tests to diagnose any allergies. If their allergies are severe enough, your vet may provide medication, or an allergy shot.
There are home treatments for pet allergies if they’re not severe enough to require medication. Keeping your pet clean is one of the easiest ways to soothe their allergies—regular baths help with itchy skin and watch away irritants that cling to them. Your vet can recommend a shampoo that will help keep their skin moisturized and well-nourished. Keeping your home clean can also help your pet as much as it helps you! Vacuum & dust frequently, and wipe down your pets paws when they come inside to minimize allergens getting in the house.
It’s not just the plants and foliage that are coming back in this time—other critters are getting out of their winter hidey-holes and foraging for food themselves. Many pups have a natural instinct to chase after and hunt rabbits, squirrels, and other little animals that are just reintroducing themselves to the outside. Your dog naturally will want to hunt, so it’s important to keep them restrained or otherwise kept away from the little critters outside that could lead them into dangerous areas or transmit diseases if caught.
Finally, we know the nice weather will make you and your pet eager to get outside and active! However, it’s important for them to ease into exercise as much as you. We know how easy it is to become a couch zombie in the winter. You don’t want to overexert your pup and have them pull muscles, or become fatigued while you’re halfway out on a walk. It’s important to build up intensity gradually, over time, as both you and your pet’s endurance and muscles get stronger.
Each season brings specific challenges and obstacles to pet safety, so it’s important to know what can be bothering them, and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations. This guide should help you with the basics of how to handle each season. Be sure to talk with your vet, though, about specific challenges and health issues your pets may have. Have fun out there, and we here at Frolic are happy to help you keep your pets safe in your seasonal adventures!