The Only Locally-Owned Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Minnesota

Quick Guide: Spring Hazards for Pets

Spring is a wonderful time of year in Minnesota!  As the snow melts, everyone is happy to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather; however, as pets get outside with their owners, they are at risk for illness or injury.  Please be aware of the following hazards to your pet this spring!

Dangers in The Yard

  • Fertilizer – These products can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis or even be fatal to your dog if ingested.  Keep fertilizers out of reach.
  • Plants – Lilies are one of the most common and severe toxicities we see in veterinary hospitals. Ingesting even a small amount of pollen, flower or leaf from a lily can cause life-threatening kidney failure in cats. Many other plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea or affect heart function.
  • Rat/mouse and snail/slug baits – When ingested, these products can cause fatal internal bleeding, tremors, seizures or organ failure. Symptoms can take hours to days to develop. Make sure to notify a veterinarian immediately if your pet eats these toxins. Early treatment could save your pet’s life!

Keepin’ Clean

  • Antifreeze – Ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Our pets will readily drink this sweet-tasting liquid. This can quickly cause fatal kidney failure. If you have pets, please make sure to use the less toxic propylene glycol antifreeze. Keep all antifreeze out of your pet’s reach.
  • Cleaning products – Cleaning products can cause chemical burns when ingested.  If your pet is exposed to one of these products, rinse their mouth with water and contact a veterinarian.

Bites & Stings

  • Pets can have extreme reactions to insect stings and bites. If your pet suddenly develops swelling, hives (red spots on their skin), itching and vomiting they are likely having an allergic reaction. Your veterinarian can provide treatments to stop the reaction.


  • Warm weather brings mosquitoes and ticks. Bites from these parasites can give your dog infections with bacteria or parasites. Make sure to get flea/tick and heartworm preventative from your veterinarian.

In The Car

  • Too Hot! – Remember that the inside of a car gets hot very quickly in warmer weather. NEVER leave your pet in a car when you are not there to regulate the temperature.
  • Ouch! – Do not allow your pet to hold their head and shoulders out of the window while the vehicle is moving. This puts him at risk for jumping out of the car and causing severe injuries. Even with only his head out, your pet is still at risk of damaging his eyes, ears and face as insects and debris fly by.
  • Keep ‘em contained! – Use a seat belt, car seat, carrier, or similar options to keep your pet secure in the car, safe in an accident and off your lap while driving.

Out and About: 

  • At The Park – Dog parks provide great exercise areas. However, they also put your dog at risk for fights and wounds from other dogs, infection with gastrointestinal parasites, and muscle strains or sprains.Monitor interactions with other dogs closely, and keep your dog on a heartworm preventative that also treats gastrointestinal parasites. For little dogs, “small dog only” dog parks are safest. Take advantage of them if you have one available to you.
  • Lost Pets – Keep your pet on a leash while out for walks. Unleashed pets are at risk of being hit by a car or running away. Make sure your pet has an ID collar and a microchip so they can find their way home if they do get lost.

We hope these recommendations help you and your pet have a wonderful and safe spring!

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