Spring is here which means longer and warmer days for fun in the sun with your dog. With the change of season, there are new dangers you need to keep in mind when walking and taking care of your pup.
Follow our tips for helping everyone in your family stay healthy and happy in the warm months.
1. Watch out for Foxtails and Burrs
Foxtails and burrs are the seeds of dry-weather plants that evolved to stick to animal hair. They can get stuck in your pet’s feet, nose, ears, eyes, and even in their skin. If the foreign object stays in your pet’s body for too long, they can get an infection or even have an internal organ get damaged.
After taking your dog on a walk, always make sure to check between their toes and in and around their eyes, nose, and mouth. If you see a burr or foxtail, try gently to detangle and remove from their fur. If you cannot get it out or suspect that one is already lodged somewhere you can’t see, take them to the vet quickly.
Our pets can suffer from allergies just like us humans, especially during springtime when there is lots of pollen in the air. Pets who suffer from allergies will often be seen licking their body to ease itching. With really bad allergies, a dog might even lick off all the fur in one spot and end up with a hot spot. Other symptoms to watch out for are: excessive sneezing and scratching, watery eyes, and smelly ears.
If your pup is suffering from seasonal allergies, you can try giving your dog over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Claritin (loratadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine). Check with your vet to for the right dosage for your dog’s size. If you purchase an over-the-counter medicine for your dog, check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain any other ingredients like decongestants or pseudoephedrine, which are NOT safe for dogs.
Another treatment is frequently washing them with skin-calming or hypogenic shampoo.
Just like humans, pets can suffer from heatstroke if they experience too much hot weather. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness.
Some pets are more prone to heatstroke, like if they are very old, very young, overweight or out of shape, or have short muzzles. If you believe your pet is suffering from heatstroke, first move your pet to a shady area or somewhere air-conditioned. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their neck, head, and chest. Let them drink a little bit of cool water and then take them directly to your vet.
4. Burned paws
Your pet could end up burning or hurting their paws if you walk them when it’s too hot. When it’s above 80°F, make sure to check the temperature of the ground before walking your dog — if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws. If you live in a hot area, shift your walking schedule so longer walks occur earlier and later into the day.
5. Fleas and ticks
Hot and humid weather is the perfect conditions for fleas and ticks to prosper and reproduce. Both of these pests not only feed on your pets’ blood, but can also pass along dangerous diseases like Lyme disease.
To protect your pup from these pests, make sure to use some preventative product, like a flea collar or a monthly medicine. Also try to limit the time your pet spends in tall grass or in forested areas where ticks and fleas are often found. If you take your dog on a walk where fleas or ticks can be found, always check their body for any unwanted visitors after your walk.
6. Spring flowers
Daffodils can be toxic, particularly the bulbs. But the flower heads can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. In severe cases this may result in dehydration, tremors and convulsions. These signs can be seen from 15 minutes to one day following ingestion. Other spring flowers, such as crocuses and tulips, are considered to be less toxic but still shouldn’t be eaten. If you suspect your pet has ingested any flowers that are poisonous, call your vet right away.