The dangers for pets in the winter are probably well known: cold, ice, damage to the paws from walking on salty sidewalks… However, many pet owners don’t realize that spring brings along other dangers — and that just because they’re different doesn’t mean they’re any less serious.
Spring is closer than you think! March brings along changes in the weather and might wake up allergies and other issues. Keep reading to find out how to keep your pet safe in the coming season.
Be Cautious of these Spring Dangers for Pets:
- Did you know pets can suffer from seasonal allergies just as their owners? Pollen and ragweed can cause pets to sneeze, but they are more likely to cause other symptoms that you might miss, such as chewing at the feet, recurrent ear infections, wheezing and hot spots. If you have a pet that’s licking, scratching or rubbing parts of his body non-stop, he might be suffering from allergies.
- You know all those pretty plants flowering everywhere during the spring? Some of them can make your pet very ill. For example, daffodils can be deadly to small dogs and cats. Even in small quantities, they can cause severe diarrhea and stomach upset. Other common plants that are poisonous for pets include tulips, lily of the valley and azaleas. If you have a yard, stay clear of flowers that could be dangerous. You should also pay attention when out for walks at parks, especially if Fido is likely to start chewing on plants he encounters along the way.
- Although pets should be protected against parasites all year long, some pests — including fleas, heartworm and ticks — get worse as the warm weather arrives. Prevention is a lot easier than trying to get rid of them later on. Plus, some of these parasites can cause serious health issues.
- Let’s face it: even with the best of intentions, pets exercise less during the winter. More rain, colder or windier days and just the business of the holidays make it harder to spend time outdoors. So when spring comes around, your pet might be slightly out of shape. While heading outdoors again to enjoy the warmer weather might sound great, pushing too hard or for too long can result in a muscle injury. The answer? Take it easy at first. Increase the length and intensity of the walks a little at a time to give your pet time to get used to the change.
- Spring is a time for dangerous substances. Why? Well, many homeowners go all out on cleaning their homes and yards when spring comes along. That means lots of chemicals and caustic cleaning products being sprayed everywhere. Especially indoors, be careful about leaving cleaning products in areas your pet can get to. In the garden, either use natural insecticides or only apply them when your pet is locked indoors. Then wait at least a few hours for the fumes to clear before letting your pet go out again.
Other things to look out for in spring:
- Easter eggs, as chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Plus, a lot of Easter candy contains Xylitol, a sweetener that can cause severe diarrhea.
- Broken window screens.
- The warmer weather means open windows — which in turn can increase the risk of pets falling out and injuring themselves. Before you start opening your windows to let the spring air come in, check your screens and make sure they survived the winter in good shape.
If you notice any strange behavior (such as salivating, dizziness or difficulty breathing), this could be a sign of poisoning. Always contact your vet if you feel your pet might have ingested or touched something dangerous.