With the change of season, we welcome Spring! Longer days, warmer weather, budding flowers but hello to pollen, insects, and gardening as well. All potential hazards to your best friend! It is easy to forget common things such as planting flowers or simply letting your dog out into the yard can have adverse effects on your furry family member. It is important to understand what some of the risks are to your pets as the seasons change. Keep reading to gain knowledge on having a safe, blooming Spring!
“Hello to pollen, insects, and gardening…”
Owners forget or are unaware that their furry friends can suffer from the same allergies we do during springtime season. They are just as susceptible to the same reactions we have toward any allergen. So when that pollen starts to settle on everything, and those wet noses start exploring the new scents the season rolls in, runny noses, itchy skin and watery eyes can be a reality for pet owners. For a deeper breakdown about dog allergies, take a look at our Dog Allergy: Symptoms and Reliefs article to identify the signs and what you can do to help.
“…fleas, ticks, mosquitoes really bother!”
-K9 Advantix Song
Any pet owner is aware and all too familiar with those creepy crawlers that start to emerge from their deep winter sleep at the first sight of green. This is when promotional posters with words like “prevention” and “protection” start to grace the walls of your vet’s office. Taking measures to ensure your animals’ health starts from the inside out! Preventative flea and tick medication, chewables, and collars are a great way to secure your pet is free from any illness, infestations; and with that, you and your home as well!
Talk to your veterinarian about the best preventative option for your pet as well as care plans in case one of those creepy crawlers gets to them first. As difficult as it is, we as pet owners understand we must co-exist with other beings that may not inherently mean harm but can severely cause harm to our pets. Being prepared by educating yourself and executing a course of prevention are the best ways we can help our pets through the changes of season.
Which brings me to our next guests of honor: bees and wasps!
Most of us know the pain that results from a sting from one of these pollinators. While a sting is a defensive reaction to protect itself and its home the venom from these insects can cause reactions that can range from localized discomfort to toxic shock.
Rarely are these insects aggressive when unprovoked but as doggo parents know- curiosity not only killed the cat! Dogs are curious and nosy creatures who enjoy using their noses to investigate. As a result, most bee sting sites tend to be in the face. Often times stings aren’t witnessed so it is imperative to look out for pawing of the face, swelling, redness, itchiness, vocalization as well as any difficulty with breathing or moving of the head and neck.
Even non-allergic dogs could go into anaphylactic shock from multiple stings. So it is important to monitor your animal closely for any clinical signs.
In the case of a sting, the first thing to identify is if the stinger is still attached. If it is, gently scrape it off, avoid gripping the stringer as it could release more venom. Wash the site with water and mild soap and gently pat dry. If swelling occurs, apply ice to relieve discomfort and lessen swelling. Keep your pet from licking or biting the sting site. This is where a helping hand comes into play! Offer distractions via play or treats. If you don’t have the time to spare, contact your local dog walking company to send someone out and give your pup that extra attention they need.
If symptoms worsen after 24 hours or continue, it’s best to check with your vet on their recommendations.
Tip: Not all stinging insects live in hives or in trees. Ground hornets, as their name suggests, may live in holes in the ground. If you see your dog adamant over digging up a specific spot in the yard take a moment to safely investigate and ensure they’re not disrupting a home. In the case of live stinging insects in your yard contact a professional to have the hive/home removed or relocated and restrict your pet from that area.
Part of the joy of Spring weather is the opportunity to begin gardening and landscaping. While those tulips look beautiful in their array of colors in your yard, getting them there and keeping them there come with potential hazards to your pet. Potting soil, fertilizer, insecticides, even gardening tools are easy things for your pet to get into- so first things first is proper guidelines of storage. Make sure to keep these items in an enclosed area where your pet can’t get to them easily.
Most soils and fertilizers contain large amounts of iron and meal-by products such as bone meal, fish meal, etc., which can be very tempting for our canine and feline friends. Insecticides are also designated to kill insects and plants and when ingested by a furry friend this could lead to toxicity concerns. Take away the temptation by keeping these items in sealed bins or sealed bags.
Certain types of flowers can also be toxic if consumed. Dogs are especially prone to chewing things they shouldn’t! It’s important to not only have proper storage etiquette but also knowledge of toxic plants. It is also imperative to know your animals’ habits. If you have a professional doing your landscaping and gardening, advise them of the type of pet you have so they can work with animal-friendly products if the option is available.
No one has to give up the fun of everything that comes with Spring, especially with their pups! But we do need to take our pets into consideration when it comes to certain things. The best protection is prevention, so start today! Talk to your vet for their recommendation of pest medication, take a look around your gardening equipment for safety hazards, up your knowledge on what dog allergies look like, and of course, enjoy a happy safe Spring!