This article is contributed by guest writer, Emily G. (Author of Cattail Gardens).
Dog Safety in Springtime – Preventing Common Health Hazards
Spring is here, and we all know what that means – lovely weather, spring cleaning, and of course, more time outdoors. If you have a pup, now is the best time to go out in the garden or for daily walks and have some fun. But before you embark on your new activities, it’s important to note that some things could spell trouble for your dog. To keep your furry friend safe, here are some springtime hazards to look out for.
Spring comes with many outdoor rivalries, and you may be tempted to give your pooch a bite of your favorite chocolate. Please don’t. Candy and chocolate smell and taste good even to your pet, but it’s toxic. Chocolate poisoning can be fatal, while candy is hazardous. If you still have some chocolate eggs or bunny ears leftover in your home, ensure they are in a sealed container and out of reach for your pup. Moreover, look out for goodies that have raisins, grapes, sultanas, and currants as these tiny fruits can lead to kidney failure in your dog.
Dogs, just like humans, develop allergies. Common spring allergies include:
Allergic reactions in dogs are often seen through their skin. Look out for reddened and irritated skin, excessive licking of one body part, inflamed skin, balding patches in the fur, and itchy, smelly ears. To ensure your dog is safe, ensure your pet doesn’t come into contact with the allergen, regularly bathe your pet or give him frequent paw soaks.
Furthermore, wash your puppy’s ears to do away with bacteria and dirt that can result in irritation. In severe cases, you’ll need to take your pooch to the vet. Ensure you also keep your anti-histamine medication safe. When ingested by your puppy, such medicines can cause vomiting, wobbliness, tremors, and in severe cases, can cause convulsions and a coma.
It’s also important to be able to distinguish between the symptoms of springtime allergies and food allergies in dogs, so make sure to speak to your veterinarian if you are at all unsure. If your pooch is bathed regularly and hasn’t been outside much, but is still exhibiting these signs, he is likely a bit sensitive or intolerant to something he’s eaten. If symptoms persist, it’s recommended to put your pooch on a limited ingredient dog food diet to rule out what he could be sensitive to.
If your dog enjoys spending time outdoors, you’ll need to watch out for poisonous plants such as:
- Lilies – Lilies are toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingestion of this beautiful flower can lead to gastrointestinal upsets, pawing, or foaming in the mouth.
- Azaleas –All parts of the Azaleas plant are considered poisonous to dogs. When ingested, your pet will exhibit gastrointestinal and cardiovascular abnormalities.
- Daffodils – The bulb and flower part of the Daffodil plant are toxic. Licking or eating any of these parts can lead to excessive drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in your dog. In severe cases, heart and respiratory issues can occur.
- Bluebell – Possible side effects of ingesting bluebells by your dog include vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems.
- Tulips and hyacinths –The bulbs of these two plants have allergenic lactones, which is toxic for your dog. If your dog has ingested any of these plants, it’s best to seek immediate treatment.
- Crocuses – Spring crocuses can lead to vomiting or diarrhea in your pooch.
- Ivy – If your dog ingests hedera helix commonly known as ivy, they may show symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or drooling. Contact with this plant will also lead to itchiness, conjunctivitis, and rashes on the skin.
Insect Stings and Snake Bits
Dogs are more susceptible to bee and wasp stings as they like to explore with their nose and paws. Your dog may have mild swelling after a bee sting.
Ensure you use a credit card to scrape off the sting as squeezing it only exposes the venom more. If your pet is allergic to a bee sting or shows signs of anaphylactic shock, you need to take them to a vet immediately.
Look out for fleas and ticks too, especially after a walk in grassy or woody areas, or even in your own backyard. Ensure your pup also has had prevention medication – and that you follow veterinary safety advice when using dog flea treatments.
Snakes such as rattlesnakes or the European udder are common in spring as they are just coming out from hibernating. They can cause a venomous bite to your pup. Your pet should always be under your watchful eye even as they play outside.
Spring is the mating season for most pets. Ensure you spay or neuter your pooch to minimize mating behavior during this season.
High temperatures can be fatal for your dog. Always give your pup plenty of water while outdoors and frequent breaks and rests in a shady area. Furthermore, never leave your pet in the car if you need to run an errand as temperatures in the vehicle can rise quickly, putting your pup at risk of a heat stroke.
If you have a kitchen garden or a lawn you need to tend to during this season, ensure your pup is safe from the below garden hazards:
- Fertilizers – Most fertilizers have toxic substances such as nitrogen and iron. Although some of the chemicals may not poison your pet, if ingested in large doses, they can cause pancreatic or gastrointestinal problems.
- Insecticides and herbicides – Pesticides and herbicides, just like fertilizers, may have products that are toxic to your dog if ingested. Always keep such products out of reach of your pet or forgo using them in your garden.
- Slug bait – Snail and slug bait are poisonous to your pup as they have metaldehyde. This poison, if ingested, causes vomiting, seizures, and incoordination.
Warmer weather during spring may mean more time spent outdoors with your pup. We trust that you’re now well informed on how to battle some of the spring hazards that may pose a danger to your furry friend.