The snow has melted, the birds are chirping, your senior cat is acting like a kitten again, and your dog is ready to make friends with everyone… and their dog! Yep, sounds like spring.
Although, we have all waited patiently for this time of year, we must remember that although warm weather can be enjoyable, it can also create risky environments for your pets that have been cooped up in the house for months. Let’s keep everyone happy this spring; here are a few tips on how to keep your pets safe.
Spring Greetings: Your pets have probably forgotten about their neighbouring friends and enemies. We see a rise in cat fights and subsequent abscesses in the spring. Dog walks and dog park encounters can go from fun to frantic quite quickly. Innocent sniffing, playing, and barking can quickly escalate to mounting, fighting, and growling. You know your pets best; avoid situations that may cause stress to your pet or another pet.
Spring “Food”: Your pets will eat more “junk food” in the spring. Now that the snow has melted; garbage, mould, dead animals and birds, and worse, will be conveniently located every few steps on your walk. Gastrointestinal upset is rampant, if dealt with quickly by your Veterinarian, these issues will resolve easily. If you think your pet has ingested any substance that could result in serious illness, take them straight to an emergency clinic.
Spring Parasites: Protecting your pets against fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites are very important, especially in Alberta where we have seen a rise in tick and flea populations with our warmer winters. Parasites in feces enter the soil and can be picked up more easily by another pet in the spring. Prevention is the best method; monthly treatments will protect your pet’s health and potential skin issues. Please research your pet treatments and make sure they are Veterinarian grade, treatments are often sold over the counter at pet stores. Unfortunately, they often do not fully protect, or worse, can make your pet sick if administered incorrectly.
Spring Toxic Plants: Be cautious which plants and flowers you choose for your garden. Many ornamentals, if eaten, will cause gastrointestinal upset. You can choose your garden plants, but it is trickier to know which wildflowers, shrubs, and mushrooms are toxic. Always monitor your pets when they are outside in the yard, or on a walk.
Spring Allergies: Humans typically sniffle and sneeze, however, allergic pets begin to itch from allergens in the air. Make an appointment with your Veterinarian as soon as your pet begins the spring itch. Early intervention may determine the culprit and lessen the effects of allergies on your pets.
Spring Disease: Warmer weather and closer contact among animals encourages disease to spread. Parvovirus outbreaks in dogs and upper respiratory viruses in cats are commonly spread in the spring. Be aware of illness and changes in behaviour and make an appointment with your Vet immediately. Keeping your pets up to date on their vaccines is very important, especially if you are planning on boarding them at a kennel. Kennels are notoriously infectious, but as always, illness is preventable.
Spring Bug Bites: Be aware of the common bugs in your area, especially those that bite and sting. The threat of an allergic reaction to a bee, wasp, hornet or spider bite can be high, always carry Benadryl and the correct dose prescribed by your Vet.
Spring is an incredible time of year, so let’s keep it stress-free and safe because remember, we live in Alberta and only have a few months before the next snow fall!
Written by Breah Russell, CCR