The spring season is a great time for dog owners. You may be looking forward to spending more time outside with your pet, now that the temperatures are rising, but aren't yet as hot as they will be in the summer. Or you may be planning to make your home more comfortable for you and your furry friend with your spring cleaning plans.
No matter what your plans are this spring, the health and safety of your dog should be among your top concerns. While the spring season brings a lot of joy to pets and their owners, it can also carry some risks. Take a look at some important spring health and safety tips for your dog.
1. Check Your Cleaning Supplies for Potential Poisons
Spring is traditionally the time of the year for homeowners to clean out clutter and do some needed home repairs. While these kinds of home improvement tasks can improve the home for everyone, including the dog, it's important to be sure to be aware of potential poisons that can be found in your cleaning supplies.
Many cleaning agents contain chemicals that can cause anything from minor skin irritations or stomach upset to serious and potentially dangerous symptoms. Take an inventory of your home cleaning products and see if there's anything that you can replace with natural, pet-friendly products instead.
If you use bleach to clean items that your dog will use, like crates, food dishes, and toys, make sure that you're diluting the bleach and rinsing and air-drying the item thoroughly before allowing your dog to use it again. Open windows or doors to air out the room if the smell of bleach or other cleaning products is overpowering.
Store potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals out of your dog's reach, and make sure that you clean and put away items that might contain hazardous cleaning chemicals — for example, don't leave a wet mop covered in floor cleaner where your dog can reach it. If your dog does get into potentially toxic household chemicals, don't call Poison Control — their information is for humans and won't help your dog. Instead, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number at (888) 426-4435.
2. Protect Your Dog From Allergens
It's not just pet owners that suffer from seasonal allergens — they can affect pets as well. While your allergies may make you sneeze, wheeze, and cough, dogs often manifest skin-related allergy symptoms instead. If you notice that your dog is scratching, rubbing their face and ears on the couch or carpet, or chewing their paws, they may be suffering from seasonal allergies.
Frequent baths with pet-friendly shampoo can help relieve allergy symptoms by removing allergens from your dog's coat and skin. Cleansing eye and ear solutions can help as well. Visit your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has allergies — they can rule out other conditions and prescribe topical treatments that can help.
3. Play Fetch With Toys, not Sticks
Now that the weather is warmer and you and your dog are more inclined to play outside, it's important to think about safety when you play fetch. Instead of picking sticks off the ground to through for your dog to catch, use frisbees, plastic bones, or balls that are too large to be swallowed instead.
Sticks from the ground are pointy and can cause injuries when your dog runs to catch them in the air. The sticks may also carry a lot of different bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. These germs can travel into your dog's bloodstream through a wound, or through splinters that get stuck in your dog's mouth tissues, causing your dog to become sick.
Spring is also a great time to schedule a health check-up for your dog with their veterinarian. You and your pet will both enjoy the spring season more when you take steps to ensure your dog's health and safety.