Spring is Here - Are your Pets Ready?

by HealthforLife

Ah, spring is here. The trees are in bloom, the weather's getting warmer, and as you sleep at night, you can hear the rain pattering against your roof.

It's a time of year we all love – and that includes your pets.

However, spring also brings with it specific pet care needs that your dogs and cats may not have during the rest of the year. Here are five pet care tips to keep in mind during the spring months.

1. Pets get allergies, too!

For some people, spring brings on months of swollen, itchy eyes, scratchy throats, and runny noses. Our pets are no different. Just like some people, some pets are especially sensitive to the influx of pollen during the spring and find themselves scratching over seasonal allergies.

To help your dogs or cats overcome their allergies, you can take your animals to the vet for allergy pills or shots. Steroids such as prednisone are not too expensive and are very effective. However, steroids have harmful side effects over time, so use them cautiously and infrequently. An allergy shot is more expensive than prednisone but can be even more effective, depending upon the dog or cat.

2. Fleas and ticks look forward to spring.

While some of you may live in the South, where fleas and ticks are a threat all year round, others of you might live in colder climates where you can allow yourself to forget about fleas and ticks for a few months. If you stopped flea and tick treatment over the winter, now is the time to get your pets ready for the onslaught of biting critters. For dogs, consider a preventative such as K9 Advantix II, which also prevents against mosquitoes and lice.

Pet Allergies in Spring

3. Spring cleaning can be dangerous for curious pets.

When you use particularly strong cleaning chemicals, such as oven sprays, bleach and ammonia, the residue left behind can harm your animals. The fumes from these cleaners aren't good for animals, and they aren't good for human beings, either; consider forgoing them altogether and using eco-friendly cleaners, instead.

Furthermore, dogs and cats – especially young ones – might think that licking up cleaning fluid is a marvelous idea. Watch out for dogs and cats who want to slurp up chemicals that could be poisonous to them.

4. Did the Easter Bunny bring your pet any chocolate?

“I can has cheezburger?” turns into “I can has Cadbury Eggs?” when Easter comes around. Remember that no quantity of chocolate is a good thing for dogs and cats; keep that Easter basket and the chocolate bunny well out-of-reach from your animals. The fake plastic grass that comes in Easter baskets might also appeal to some animals, so be sure to clean all of it up before your animals enter the room.

5. Keep off the grass!

Speaking of grass, the real grass can also endanger pets after the lawn man comes in the spring with his pack of fertilizer. The pesticides and fertilizers we use in gardens and lawns are very dangerous for pets. When dogs and cats walk on recently fertilized lawns, the fertilizer gets onto their paws and irritates them. Then they lick and chew their paws, thus ingesting the fertilizer.

One veterinary expert speculates that fertilizers and pesticides might be one reason why pets are getting cancer in greater numbers than ever before. Almost half of all dogs eventually get cancer these days, compared to just 5 percent of dogs in the mid-twentieth century.

What should you do to protect your animals? For your own lawn, seek out non-toxic, pet-friendly fertilizers. Meanwhile, keep your dogs and cats off your neighbors' grass.

Do you have your own spring pet care tips? Share them in the comments section below.

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Updated: 03/19/2012, HealthforLife
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