Spring sunshine and warmer days are here! With it are new dangers, but we're here to help keep your pet as safe as possible so you can enjoy the season to its fullest.
Use caution with Easter treats and decorations. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, as are many other candies, including those containing the artificial sweetener xylitol. Lilies can cause fatal kidney failure if nibbled on by cats and Easter grass can also be problematic for them. It looks like a tempting toy but can cause serious intestinal problems if ingested. If you think your pet has ingested something potentially harmful, please call immediately.
Keep pets safe when spring cleaning and remodeling. Spring is a time of renewal, but make sure to keep pets safe while you're refreshing your home. Prevent access to cleaners, chemicals, paints, etc. and keep pets secure and out of work zones. For those that become easily stressed by loud noises and new activity, it may be best to make alternate care arrangements out of your home.
Microchip your pet. The increase in outdoor activities during spring results in more opportunity for pet loss. We use high quality, reliable Home Again microchips. Our staff can provide details upon request.
Prevent "High-Rise Syndrome." This occurs when pets (usually cats) fall from a significant height, resulting in serious injuries or death. Make sure all windows, screens, doors, and balconies are secure and pet-proofed.
Choose safe plants. In both indoor and outdoor areas, choose plants that are non-toxic to your pet. The ASPCA's list of toxic and non-toxic plants is a great resource: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants. If gardening, prevent pet access to bone meal, cocoa mulch, pesticides, fertilizers, and other potentially dangerous substances.
Avoid standing water. Don't let your pet drink from puddles or other stagnant bodies of water. They might contain bacteria, algae, or other organisms that can cause serious or fatal illness.
Skip the sticks. Every year we see dogs that have gotten sticks stuck in their mouth. Choking or accidental traumatic injury during active games of fetch are also relatively common. If your dog loves to chew or chase sticks, choose an alternative dog-safe toy instead.
Watch for dog park dangers (including snakes!). Be mindful of the usual dog park hazards (like bad play between dogs and faulty equipment) but also be aware that rattlesnakes are a very real danger. The warm weather will draw them out and yes, they are in our area, including at least one of the popular local dog parks. If you believe your dog has been bitten, back away from the snake. If you can carry your dog to the car, do so. If not, limit his or her activity by walking to the car and then seek veterinary care IMMEDIATELY. Prompt treatment is essential for the best chance of survival.
Use parasite preventatives faithfully. Warm weather means that pesky parasites will be out and about in no time. That's bad enough, but it's important to know that many of these parasites also carry diseases, some of which can be spread to humans. Dogs should be on monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite preventatives already (we recommend year round use) and we recommend year-round use of flea and tick preventatives, too. For cats that go outside, parasite preventatives are equally important. We can recommend an easy parasite prevention program specifically tailored to meet the needs of your pet.
Be allergy aware. Bee stings, spider bites, and other insect bites or stings can cause allergic reactions in pets. Signs to watch for include facial swelling, itchiness, hives or other rashes, difficulty breathing, collapse, and possibly sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhea (though this is more likely to be from some other cause). This type of allergic reaction can be serious and should be treated promptly so please call immediately. Pets can also have seasonal allergies to pollen which may result in foot licking, itching, rashes, skin and/or ear infections, and hair loss or coat abnormalities. If you suspect your furry family member has this type of allergy, we can work with you to manage allergy issues so that he or she is ultimately healthier and more comfortable.
Get legal. Dogs are legally required to be current on their rabies vaccine and have a valid dog license for your county of residence. If you need an additional copy of your dog's rabies vaccination certificate, we would be happy to provide one upon request.
Ask questions. We're here to help - happy spring!