It’s that time of year again when winter changes to spring, temperatures rise, snow melts, and muck and mess is at its maximum. Here are 5 easy tips to keep you and your dog safe and clean this season.
- Although your dog may no longer need a coat and booties to stay warm, you may want to use them just a bit longer. Melting snow and ice, paired with the cold, rainy weather can turn your backyard and the dog park into muddy fields of mess. Keeping a coat and booties on for walks during wetter weather can reduce cleanup time after your walk.
- Cleaning up a wet, muddy dog can be quite a hassle. Make things easier on yourself by preparing the clean up area ahead of time. Have a solid mat at your back door for your dog to stand on as you clean him. Have at least one towel within easy reach to clean/dry paws and chat, and a small bucket of warm soapy water (pet safe shampoo/soap) to help clean super muddy paws.
- The spring melt will expose food, garbage, and random debris that people have abandoned in the snow over the winter. It will also uncover a variety of “snacks” your dog will gladly eat; discarded food and fruit fallen from last fall could make your dog extremely sick or worse. To prevent this, keep a bag of your dog’s favourite treats in your pocket during your walk, they can be given to distract from the other “snacks” along the way. If you’re feeling particularly helpful you could bring an extra garbage bag and help clean up some of this garbage for the next dog walker.
- If your dog gets thirsty on walks, bring a collapsible dog bowl and a bottle of water. Avoid letting your dog drink from meltwater puddles, ponds, and streams. As the snow melts, water sources can become contaminated by chemicals and salt used on the streets over the winter, mold and bacteria, and even insect larvae or parasites.
- The spring season often increases dog’s natural prey-drive. Increased barking, lunging, howling, and whining is common as more wild animals come out of hibernation. The best way to handle prey-drive behaviour is a combination of treats and picking up the pace of your walk. If you are entering prey territory (the park or trail) or you spot an animal before your dog does, treats can be used as a distraction. However, once your dog has spotted an animal, it will be very difficult to get their attention back, even with treats. You can try picking up the pace and make it more of a “playtime” until you have moved past the prey.