It’s officially springtime! In sunny Wilmington, NC it can be hard to tell when winter ends and spring begins. Now is the time to clean out that garage, donate old clothes, take care of the young buds in the garden and, of course, relax under the warm sun and soft breeze. Spring in our neck of the woods is something to be enjoyed.
But with every new season comes potential risks and hazards for our beloved pets. In this month’s blog post, we want to share spring safety tips to keep your pet out of trouble and most of all, healthy.
5 Spring Safety Tips for Pets
1. Keep household cleaning products locked up and out of reach.
Planning on doing some spring cleaning? Many household cleaners such as drain cleaners, bleach, pool chemicals, furniture polish, carpet and rug cleaners can be toxic to pets. If a product has a caution or warning message, it likely contains harsh or corrosive ingredients. Check out this article by IHeartDogs.com for a list of alternative pet-safe products. Although these are safer options, all household cleaners should always be kept away from young children and pets.If your pet comes in contact or ingests something toxic, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Observe your pet carefully for any changes in his or her behavior, breathing, and/or skin conditions. Signs of poisoning can appear suddenly, but it can also take hours until signs are noticeable. If it’s after hours, do not hesitate to bring pets to our 24-Hour Emergency Room.
2. Be aware of flowers toxic to dogs and cats.
Flowers can be tempting, but they are not food – especially when it comes to your pets. Certain flowers can be extremely toxic to your pet. For example, most varieties of lilies are poisonous for cats. The Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) states,
“Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2–3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Other types of dangerous lilies include lily of the valley. This type does not cause kidney failure, but can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs or cats.”
Refer to ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List to see which plants are safe for dogs and cats.
In addition, certain fertilizers and insecticides used in home gardens can be harmful. Use the Pet Poison Helpline’s Poison List for more information.
3. Prevention is the best medicine against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes (heartworm).
Bugs and insects love flowers! With new plants and warmer weather, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are out and about. Make sure your pet is on a year-round preventive. Heartworm is caused by infected mosquitoes and is fatal if left untreated. Many brands are available, so we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to find which brand and dosage amount is appropriate for your pet. Never give parasitic prevention medication intended for dogs to cats or vice versa.
4. Take care of any seasonal allergies quickly.
As with humans, dogs and cats can have seasonal allergies. Allergies are often caused by environmental factors such as pollen, dust, and even food. During the seasonal change, you might notice that your dogs or cats are licking or chewing their paws more, scratching their body, have red irritated skin, and/or ear infections. These are common signs of allergies. You can help reduce irritation by wiping your dog’s paws after walks. Regular bathing can also help remove some of the allergens on your pet’s fur and skin. While itchy paws and ears might not seem like a big deal, your pet is uncomfortable and should receive treatment.
5. Be aware of the temperature outside.
With the weather heating up
again, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to do the pavement test before
walking our dogs. Put the back of your hand to the asphalt or concrete for five
seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. Ground that
is too hot can not only burn but also reduce your pet’s ability to cool down.
Dogs do not sweat; therefore, much of their excess heat is released through
panting and their paws.
Never leave your dog in a car. Even with windows rolled down, the temperature in a parked car can increase 20 degrees after just 10 minutes and will continue to climb. On an 85-degree day, dogs left in a car with windows slightly open can succumb to heat stroke in just a few minutes. By the time you see signs of heat stroke, it can be too late. Please leave your pets at home if you know you will need to stop by places where pets are not allowed.
If you do notice signs of heat stroke such as heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red tongue, drooling, unsteadiness, or collapse, bring your pet to Highsmith AH or the nearest pet ER as soon as possible. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention.
We hope these tips will help you and your pet enjoy a safe and happy spring season. If at any time your pet needs emergency or advanced care, Highsmith Animal Hospital is here for you. 910-799-5587