When it comes to spring safety tips for dogs and cats, there are a few things owners need to be aware of as the change of season kicks in.
Often we forget that with the change of weather, comes a new set of conditions and threats that we may need to be more mindful of than in other months throughout the year.
To help, PETstock Vet, Dr Natalia Li, has put together her top spring safety tips for dogs and cats to help ensure your pet is kept safe and comfortable.
In spring, pets are more prone to grass allergies, which are caused by the pollen that floats through the air and penetrates their skin and nasal passages. Symptoms include irritated and watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, excessive itching, skin irritation and bald spots.
If your pet is experiencing these symptoms, visit your local veterinarian who can provide further advice on the options available to help your pet. In the meantime, check out my tips on some things you can do at home to help as well here.
Grass seeds and burrs
With our pets spending more time in the garden, be wary of grass burrs that can lodge into their paws, ears, eyes or anywhere in their furry coat. These thorns or prickles can dig deep into your pet’s paw if stepped on and can cause them great pain.
Pay attention to behaviours such as excessive scratching, shaking of the head and constant licking, and look out for redness, swelling or an abscess at the entry point of the grass seed lodgement. You should only attempt to remove the grass burr if it is visibly protruding from the entry point, otherwise it will need to be removed by a vet.
Flea and tick safety
Fleas and ticks are common in Australia and can make your pet dangerously ill. The Paralysis Tick can even be deadly. Ensure all cats and dogs in your household have been treated with the correct flea and tick protection before allowing them outside. Consistency is key, so it’s important to continue with monthly applications throughout the rest of the year after initial treatment.
Itchy skin and grooming
Seasonal allergies occur when a pet’s immune system identifies something in the environment as threatening or dangerous. One of the most common symptoms of springtime allergies is itchy and irritated skin.
This can be relieved through a nutritious, balanced diet containing essential nutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Just like humans, our pet’s outsides can be a reflection of how they fuel their insides. Learn more about how the Big Dog Pet Foods Sensitive Skin can assist.
Also, it is important that you don’t over groom them and irritate their skin further and always use a gentle, pet formulated shampoo like the DGG Colloidal Oatmeal range.
Hiking and walking safety
As the warmer weather kicks in, you’ll want to bring your four-legged friend along wherever you go including hikes or long walks. Before you venture out, make sure your buddy is up to date with vaccinations and worming, especially if you’ve just welcomed a young, new pet into your home. Here are my tips for hiking with your dog.
It’s also time to prepare for your pet’s re-emergence into the backyard and remove hazards that can cause unnecessary search parties or trips to the vet. Remember, dogs can squeeze intosmall spaces, so it’s essential to ensure all holes in fences are secured.
In terms of garden safety, please visit the ASPCA website for a list of common plants that can be toxic and even fatal to pets. Also, you can keep your pet free from ticks and other parasites by maintaining a well-trimmed lawn.
With that seasonal itch, it’s a great idea to provide proper scratching posts for your feline in your home. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws, without the risk of destroying furniture, drapery and carpet. To protect wildlife, it’s important to keep cats indoors, so creating an inviting space inside will help keep them comforted and entertained.
For further tips on puppy-proofing your home, click here.
Non-desexed female cats and dogs experience hormonal changes during spring, with many pet cats beginning their search for a mate. Ensuring your male or female pet is desexed will reduce the change of unwanted litters and behavioural problems, such as aggression, urine marking and roaming. Additionally, unneutered dogs are more prone to health problems such as cancer and pyometra.