Spring Safety Tips

     Spring is finally here and everyone is anxious to play outside, especially our four-legged friends. As we enjoy the sunshine, it’s important to keep an eye out for the dangers that lurk in the shadows. Many common spring and summer time pet ailments can be easily prevented with little effort.
     Though it is much safer to keep cats indoors and away from traffic, predators, and poisons, many cats will insist upon going outside and escape despite the best efforts of the owner. It is vital to keep identification on cats, whether it be a collar (break-away, of course) with a tag or a microchip. Or, better yet, both. Dogs need identification as well, in the form of a collar and tags and/or microchip in case they escape the yard or their leash. Every year, a huge number of stray animals end up in shelters and are never reclaimed. If these animals had been identifiable, they could have been quickly returned to their owners.
     Other animals of the pest variety are starting to prowl about, too, and humans may be trying to keep their presence to a minimum. Keep an eye out for rodent poisons- cats and dogs who hunt can easily be poisoned themselves by consuming a mouse that has just ingested poison. Insecticides also pose a risk to pets. If you plan on spraying for bugs, be sure to use a pet friendly product or arrange to remove your pet from the area for at least as long as the manufacturer recommends.
     The flowers are starting to bloom and people are starting to groom their yards. Be cautious about fertilizers and lawn treatments as these can be hazardous to pets. Even if the animal does not eat the grass from this area, they can still ingest the chemicals by licking it off of their paws or fur. Some plants, while very pretty, are poisonous for animals to consume. Lilies, rhododendrons, azaleas, and aloe are but a few that make up the dangerous plant list. For a complete list, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association or ASPCA websites and search “poison plants.”
     As we break out the sunscreen and lather it onto our noses and arms, we need to remember that our furry companions can succumb to sunburn as well. The most vulnerable to this ailment are those with very light or very short fur. Pink ears and the tops of noses burn quickly in direct sunlight. Talk with your veterinarian about safe sunscreens if you plan on spending the day out with your four-legged friend. Always remember to provide a shady area into which your pet can retreat during time in the yard.
     Many dogs enjoy a good swim and around here, there are plenty of places to indulge. Be cautious, this time of year especially, about the fast moving, high waters caused by snowmelt. These waters can be freezing cold and difficult to escape, even for the most agile of canine swimmers. This not only applies to rivers, but to irrigation ditches and canals as well. If you are not sure of the depth or speed of the water, it is safer to avoid it altogether.
     For many of us, springtime means cleaning the house. Use caution with household cleansers, as many are hazardous to pets’ health. Lysol, for example, is very toxic to cats. Be sure to read the labels of any products that you use and be prepared to switch cleaners or remove the pet from the area until it is safe for them to return. Remember, pets do not have to directly ingest a substance- they can be affected just from licking it off of their paws and fur.
     With rising summer time temperatures, it is important to remember that animals need access to fresh water at all times while playing outside. If you hike with your dog, remember to take along enough water for him, too. Keep in mind that hot pavement and sidewalks can be painful for bare paws. Cars heat up quickly in the sun, so never leave your animal in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. It takes only minutes for an animal to succumb to heat stroke.
     Arm yourself with information- keep your veterinarian’s phone number and emergency number with you, just in case. If you leave your pets with a sitter or at a boarding facility, be sure to leave all of your contact information, as well as your veterinarians’ information, with the person watching your animals. Talk with your vet about being current on vaccinations and parasite prevention. Have a safe and happy summer with your best friend!

2 thoughts on “Spring Safety Tips”

  1. It’s important to take care of your pet in summer to keep them healthy because most of the body parts of pets’ burn quickly in direct sunlight. Also, never remember to provide a shady area to your pet while you are away with pet.

Comments are closed.