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Keeping your dog safe in the spring

Keeping your dog safe in the spring
Learn about dogs

As pet parents, it’s our responsibility to keep our four-legged, furry friends safe. And with spring being just around the corner, it opens up some new hazards and risks that come with every passing season. Before you get to work cracking open your chocolate Easter eggs or whipping out the cleaning products for a good old spring clean, make sure to be mindful of the dangers these can all cause to our pooches.

So, let’s take a look at some of the doggy dangers that you need to be aware of as the grass starts to grow and the weather perks up.

How to keep your dog safe in the spring

Keeping your pet safe in the Spring is pretty simple if you know what you need to be cautious of, so let’s get straight on into it.

Growing your garden

The flowers are blooming, the grass is growing and the sun is starting to shine, making spring the perfect opportunity to try and get your garden looking beautiful.

However, we’re certain that all pet parents know that the dream of a pristine garden is nothing more than a dream when you’ve got a dog. Dogs manage to ruin our grass, dig up our pretty plants and totally wreck our gardens. Even though this might seem like such good fun, it can lead actually lead to a few serious problems for your pooch.

For example, there’s many plants that are poisonous to dogs if ingested, such as the lily family, tulips and hyacinths. Also, daffodil bulbs, whose flowers are a sunny, bright symbol of spring, can cause lots of digestive upset and potentially even toxicity if ingested. So, let’s hope your dog isn’t a digger!

If you know your pup just can't just trusted around your pretty plants, you might need to install some fencing around your flowerbeds to deter your curious canine.

Keeping your dog safe in the spring

But it’s not just our dogs that try and tear up our flowerbeds, garden pests such as snails and slugs often come out in the springtime, and it can be tempting to put chemicals out to eliminate their presence in your yard. However, these can contain a substance called metaldehyde which is super dangerous to dogs so be sure to check the labels before putting any new products out in the garden.

The same goes for grass fertiliser, always check that you’re using pet-friendly products to avoid making your pooch poorly.

If you know your pup has ingested any of your potentially dangerous plants, pesticides or fertilisers, or they suddenly become poorly after spending lots of time outside, take them to the vet immediately to get to the root of the problem.

Spring cleaning

Every time spring rolls around, many of us pick up the feather duster, head to our wardrobes for a declutter and embark on a bit of spring cleaning to get the house looking spick and span.

But spring cleaning brings lots of cleaning products, products that could contain potentially harmful chemicals that can cause your dog many issues if they decide to have a taste. Always check the labels of your products, ensuring they’re labelled as pet-friendly and that they’re always kept out of reach or stashed away in a cupboard. The same goes for any products you might be using for any DIY jobs you might take up as well. You can even make your own pet-friendly products too if you can't find the perfect cleaning product!

Also, as you start decluttering all your stuff, keep an eye on your curious canine sneaking up and pinching something, we all know that most pooches are partial to pinching a sock or two if left unattended. However, some of the stuff you’re clearing out might seem innocent but could have potential risks when placed in the paws of our pooches, so make sure to always stay alert of little furry thieves.

Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from allergies too. Some dogs are unfortunate enough to suffer from itchy skin, dermatitis and constant cases of sneezing all year round, whereas some of our canine companions only experience allergies at certain times of the year. This is very similar to when us humans experience hayfever.

Hayfever looking after dog in the spring

Pesky parasites and insect stings

Parasites are something pooch parents need to be mindful of all year round, but parasites like fleas and ticks often come out in full force when the weather starts to get warmer. Similarly, creepy crawlies like bees and wasps start to emerge, ready to give your dog a big sting on the nose given the chance.

Routinely check your dog’s fur for any fleas or ticks lurking there and keep up to date with their parasite preventatives so that your pup can continue enjoying walkies and time outside without having to worry about any pests.

When it comes to bees and wasps, you can’t really prevent your pooch from coming into contact with them, our dogs like to stick their nose into just about anything. However, we have a full post about what to do if your dog gets stung, meaning you can get them sorted out and sting-free in no time.

Spring treats

We all know what the best thing about Spring is…Easter eggs! And although these sweet treats are great for us humans, they can actually be deadly for our dogs.

Chocolate is packed with a stimulant called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, and it’s actually considered to be toxic to dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, racing heartbeat and even death. So make sure to always keep those chocolate eggs, and any other chocolate Easter snacks well out of hound’s way. This isn’t really a problem though, it just means there’s more left for you!

Looking after your dog in the spring

Hot cross buns are another Easter treat that might be present in your house come springtime, but be careful that your crafty canine doesn’t steal any from the counter tops. Not only are these delicious-smelling buns full of sugar that our dog’s sensitive tums can’t really handle, but they’re also likely to contain raisins (sometimes chocolate too), and raisins are toxic to dogs if ingested, so you need to be super careful.

Extra walkies

As we approach warmer weather and lighter nights, (well, we hope so, we all know what UK weather can be like!), your pooch will probably be venturing into the park a lot more than they did in the dead of winter. With more off lead walkies brings more chances for your pooch to run off, so it’s important to make sure that your pup’s information is up to date on their microchip and dog tag. This way, you’re in with the best chance of keeping your pooch safe so you can still enjoy lovely, crisp spring walkies together.

Spring safety tips for your dog

Also, even though it might not be sunbathing weather for us just yet (we don’t want to be getting too ahead of ourselves), the rising temperatures could pose a risk for our furry friends. Our dogs are sensitive to the heat, after all, they do carry around a big, furry coat all day, so it’s important to keep them cool and prevent heatstroke, especially when they’re doing lots of exercise.

Even though it might not feel that warm to us, be aware of your pup’s temperature and hydration levels, providing shade and rest when you’re spending lots of time outdoors. Never leave your pooch locked in your car or in a conservatory (this goes for all year round, not just in warmer weathers), as these spaces aren’t ventilated and can be severely dangerous to our pets if left in there for too long.

Recap

With just a few precautions, you and your pup can enjoy the spring months spent outside in the warmer weather. Spring is just the same as any other season, bringing benefits and also downfalls when it comes to caring for our pets, but by being mindful of the risks you’ll have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Dr Andrew Miller BVSc MRCVS

Written by: Dr Andrew Miller MRCVS

Andy graduated from Bristol University in 2010 and sees nutrition as a foundation for our pet's wellbeing and takes a common-sense approach. We are what we eat, and it shouldn't be any different for our pets.

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