As the ice and freezing winds give way to the balmy weather and spots of sunshine, nobody is more excited than our four-legged friends. After being cooped up all winter, our dear dogs, cats, and other pets are eager to run around outdoors. But before we let them, let’s consider these safety tips to make sure they’re not just happy, but healthy as well.
Keep them Tagged
As pets get to enjoy running around outdoors again, this might be a good time to get your dogs and cats microchipped for identification. It is also a good idea to make them wear a physical identification tag in their collar, containing your address, mobile number, and other pertinent information. While it may sound redundant to do both, the microchip adds an extra level of protection for your pets, in case they manage to get out of their collars.
Watch where they Walk
The ice may have thawed, but the puddles they leave behind may contain excessive amounts of salt or chemicals used for melting snow. Bring your own pet drinking bottle and don’t let them drink from the puddles. Keep them from walking through the puddles and give their paws a thorough wash after walking to make sure no harmful chemicals are left on their sensitive paw pads.
Keep them Well Groomed
Spring is when your pets shed their fluffy, warm winter coats. Help them by giving them a regular brushing. Gentle, daily brushing with a slicker brush not only gets rid of the matts and tangles in their fur, it also stimulates their skin and spreads natural oil on their coats. If your pets are particularly furry, you may want to consider taking them to a professional groomer for a trim.
Be Careful About Gardens
It sounds counterproductive to let our pets enjoy the outdoors but not let them play on the grass, but with springtime comes lawn treatments that may be hazardous to your pets. These include herbicides, pesticides, and other substances like non-organic fertilizers that make for lush-looking greenery, but bad pet play areas.
Aside from chemicals, natural things like plants may be harmful to them as well. Learn to recognize plants that are toxic to dogs and cats to know what to keep your pet away from. Some bulbs like onions and garlic and organic gardening treatments like cocoa mulch are toxic to our pets so remember to keep a watchful eye and quick reflexes to stop them if they stray.
As nature awakens in spring, so do those annoying creepy crawlies. Heartworms, ticks and fleas are again on the prowl, ready to sink their fangs into our darling pets. Talk to your vet about applying pest preventive treatments to head off possible infestations before they happen. Flea and tick treatments are usually available in spray and spot-on formula, with the dosage dependent on your pet’s size. Heartworm treatments are available orally and as shots. If your pets already have ticks or fleas, give them a long sudsy bath. The thick, soapy lather is a good and safe way to kill ticks and fleas.
While you’re at it, give your pet’s crate and play areas a thorough cleaning. A sudsy wash can kill ticks and fleas. If you’d like something stronger, tick and flea inhibitor substances are also available. Just remember to give it a thorough wash after to get rid of any residual chemicals.
Pet-proof your Spring Cleaning
If you’re spring cleaning, remember to put any cleaning substances you use in a safe place that cannot be accessed by your pets. Put them away as soon as you’re done using them, capped tightly and sealed. It will also be a good idea to keep them in a different area from where you’re cleaning, not only to keep them out of your hair, but also to keep them away from any fumes the cleaning solutions might give off.
Spring is a lovely time that should be enjoyed not just people but pets as well. As long as we look after them properly, there’s no reason why our furry friends can’t enjoy spring alongside us.