Now is the perfect time to remind pet owners eager to throw open the windows and doors and get outside with their furry companions, that warmer weather and outdoor activities can present certain hazards to beloved pets.
According to Suite101.com:
Knowledge and awareness lay the foundation for prevention, so before letting their pets run completely wild, pet owners should be aware of these springtime dangers, some of which might seem trivial, but can have fatal consequences.
This winter has been a beast in many areas of the country.
Like me, I’m sure most of you are looking forward eagerly to the warmer temps and sunny days of spring. I can’t wait to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin again, and my first hike of the season with my pack.
But while it’s still nippy outside, before balmy weather arrives, it’s a good idea for all of us to refresh our memories on the hazards of springtime that can pose a threat to the health and safety of four-legged family members.
Six Tips to Help You and Your Pet Sail into Spring
- Block the exits. Many cats sustain injuries or run away never to be seen again after falling out an unscreened window or one with a loosely fitting screen. Be sure all your windows have secure, sturdy screens before you open up your house on the first warm day of spring.
You should also make sure screen doors are in good shape and close securely so your pet can’t wander outside by himself, and to prevent stray pets or local wildlife from finding their way into your home.
- Cleaning solutions and home improvement products. If you are planning a thorough spring cleaning of your home, be aware that almost all commercial cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can make your dog or cat very sick, or worse. Follow label directions carefully and use these products safely. Better yet, make your own non-toxic spring cleaning kit.
If you’re also planning to do touch-ups around your home, remember the majority of paints and refinishing products can be toxic if ingested by your pet, and can also cause severe skin irritation and burning. To stay on the safe side, I recommend you confine your pet away from the cleaning or renovating activity while you’re using chemicals and tools of any kind.
- How does your garden grow? If you use fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides or herbicides on your lawn or in your garden, be aware many of these products are poisonous to pets. Any chemical capable of eliminating pests also has the potential to be fatal for your pet. Keep your companion animals a safe distance from any product intended to kill living things, even weeds.
Also, there are many popular, colorful springtime plants that are poisonous to pets.
- Springtime sneezing and itching. Some pets suffer from allergies in the spring just like people do. If your dog or cat seems to have seasonal allergies, make an appointment with your holistic veterinarian to discuss the severity of the condition, treatment options and preventive measures.
Another allergic reaction you’ll want to prevent in your pet is flea allergy dermatitis. The spring and summer months bring pests like fleas, ticks, flies and mosquitoes. Make sure to protect your pet with a safe, non-toxic flea and tick repellant.
- Beware the Easter Bunny. Easter celebrations pose a number of dangerous temptations to the family pet. Easter lilies can be fatal if ingested by your dog or cat. Chocolate in any form is toxic to pets, and brightly colored candy wrappers and Easter basket grass and trimmings can cause digestive upsets – even obstruction of the GI tract.
It’s also not a good idea to add an Easter-themed pet like a rabbit to the family simply because it’s that time of year and the bunny is adorable. The decision to acquire a pet should be conscious and well thought-out rather than impulsive.
- Keep your pet safe away from home. Warm weather means many pets will be outdoors more, whether just catching some rays on the patio, going for hikes and car rides, or even traveling on vacation with you. Make sure your pet is wearing an up-to-date ID tag with a secure collar so if you are separated, he can be returned to you. Also keep a photograph of your pet with you to assist with identification in case he is lost.
When traveling in the car with your pet, make sure he’s secured in a crate or a seatbelt harness. As much as some dogs love to ride with their heads out the window, it isn’t a good idea. Debris and even bugs can fly into your pet’s eyes or ears, and it’s not uncommon for unrestrained dogs to tumble out the windows of moving vehicles.
Kitties should always be in a crate to prevent them from trying to escape or wedging themselves under a seat or worse, the brake pedal.