The sun is shining, the snow is melting, and spring is in the air! As we get excited to enjoy the outdoors, go on vacation, freshen up the house with a good cleaning and fresh flowers, it’s also important for pet owners to prepare their pets for spring. Here are five things to consider:
1. Spring Break Traveling
Heading out of town for a week? If you plan to bring your pet with you, make sure you plan and prepare accordingly! This means an appointment with your family veterinarian, updating ID tags or microchip information, choosing pet-friendly lodging, and packing all of your pet’s essentials. Find more tips on traveling with your pets here! For those planning to board pets or hire a pet sitter, it’s also important to prepare whoever will be caring for your pet. Create documents with contact information, food and medication instructions, and any other information they should know about your pet. It’s also important to provide your family veterinarian’s contact information and your preferred emergency veterinarian’s contact information. For a list of other details your pet’s sitter or boarder should know in case of a pet emergency, click here!
2. Spring Cleaning
Planning to do some spring cleaning? Keep in mind that many cleaning products, even “natural” ones, are toxic to pets. Often, pets accidentally ingest cleaning chemicals as they self-groom after sprays have gotten on their fur or paws. There’s also the risk of skin irritation from chemical burns and respiratory difficulty from the strong cleaning fumes. Here are more tips on how to keep your pets safe while you clean! On another note, while you are cleaning your house, it’s a great time to do some spring cleaning for your pets! Throw out or donate any toys, bedding, or clothing that your pet isn’t using. You can also do some deep-cleaning by throwing items in the wash, emptying the litter box for a good scrub, or sewing up any ripped or torn items. It’s also a good time to go out in the yard and pick up your pup’s poop!
Side note: As you throw open the windows, keep in mind that cats, typically male cats, may pick up on outdoor cat scents and become territorial. This often leads to cat spraying.
3. Get Outside
We know you and your dog can’t wait to enjoy some fresh air! But be careful while hiking, playing in the dog park, or even simply going for a walk. These outdoor activities are fun, but pet owners need to take precautions to keep their pets safe. Try to keep your dog on a leash to avoid punctures or lacerations from sticks or branches. At the dog park, it’s also important to decide if your dog is a good fit for dog parks. Consider your dog’s behavior, aggression, age, and sociability.
4. Spring Toxins and Dangers
A new season means more toxins to be mindful of! In addition to cleaning supplies, there are many other concerns such as toxic flowers and plants, rat/mouse poison, snail/slug bait, antifreeze, toxic human foods such as chocolate, grapes, and xylitol products, and medications. One of the biggest spring dangers are lilies! These flowers are deadly to cats. The smallest sniff of pollen, sip of the vase water, or bite of the stem or petals can cause kidney failure. There are also many Easter pet dangers to consider if your family celebrates this holiday.
5. Pet Health
If it’s been over a year since your pet’s last veterinary exam, spring is a great time to set up an appointment with your family veterinarian! This time of year is a great opportunity to discuss preventative care, especially heartworm, tick, and flea preventatives. Another important health topic to consider during the spring are pet allergies. Just like humans, pets can have allergies and their seasonal allergies often flair up during spring. Watch for symptoms such as scratching, biting, licking or chewing at the paws, red and inflamed skin, sores on the skin, butt scooting, or chronic ear infections. If you notice these signs, discuss your concerns with your family veterinarian.
We hope you and your pets enjoy the spring weather while also staying safe! If your pet experiences an emergency this spring and your family veterinarian is unavailable, both Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s Oakdale and St. Paul clinics are open 24/7, every day of the year.