Springtime is almost here. The season brings with it a sense of newness and rebirth. We breathe more deeply and almost revel in what feels like an awakening of the world around us.
Unfortunately, spring doesn’t just mean finally getting out of the house and seeing the sun for a few more hours. Spring can also mean danger for your dog.
Your dog has been cooped up with you during the cold weather months. Now that they are able to get out and about, they are exposed to more than just fresh air and abundant nature. Parasites, environmental irritants, wildlife, and other hazards could await them. What are you supposed to do in response: stay indoors until summer? Of course not. Get out and enjoy the change in weather, but do so with your dog in a mindful way.
To help you make the most of spring without risking your dog’s health, keep the following pet care pointers in mind.
Couch Potatoes Don’t Run Marathons
You and your best friend have been binge-watching your favorite shows for months. Weekends are spent snuggled on the couch, under a blanket with some of the best snacks in the world. Now the weather is warm, and you are ready to lace up your sneakers and hit the trails with your canine partner. Hold on just a second!
The heading above says it all: couch potatoes don’t run marathons. What does that mean?
Without lots of preparation and time spent building endurance, neither you nor your dog is ready to put a foot (or paw) to the pavement and run for miles. Both of you need to work up to it. Start with longer walks at a mild pace, and intersperse that with days of light runs. Remember that your dog may be willing to push itself to the point of injury in order to keep up, so heed early signs of fatigue or soreness. Also, don’t overlook the importance of warming up and staying hydrated!
If you don’t take the time to reintroduce outdoor walks, hikes, and jogs, you are running the risk that your dog suffers an injury. Take it slow, and help your dog build up his stamina while you are also building yours.
Even Perfect Pooches Pick Up Parasites
A flea will hitch a ride on the cleanest dog. A tick only wants a hairy hide to hang onto.
Here’s the perception: dogs on flea and tick preventive are surrounded by a forcefield that repels insects. It’s simply not the truth. Here’s how these preventives really work (in general):
Your pet is walking through the tall, tall weeds and a tick jumps off a piece of grass onto your dog’s back. The little critter finds the perfect spot of skin and bites in. If your pet is on preventive, the tick cannot attach itself to your dog and eventually falls off. A flea jumps out of the grass and onto your dog’s tail. The tiny bug bites your protected pooch and falls off and dies.
In other words, insects must bite your dog for the preventive to do its job. So, yes, even perfectly groomed pooches pick up parasites. The parasites can still bite, which can lead to skin irritation and hotspots. Ticks may also flee onto another pet — or onto you! As such, always check your dog for creatures before you get back in the car or walk into the house. Flea/tick combs are cheap, and they work wonders!
Ears And Rears — Oh My!
Do you know how to recognize allergies in dogs? There are obvious symptoms, like running eyes and noses. But there are also signs that many guardians don’t automatically attribute to environmental allergies. Itchy bums and persistent ear infections can be allergies rearing their ugly heads, for example.
It’s also not unusual for dogs to develop allergies, even when they didn’t have them before. A canine who has never had a problem with grass, weeds, dirt, leaves, or trees may suddenly have an allergic reaction to one or all.
If you notice that your once-polite pup is dragging his rear on the floor, digging in his ears, or obsessively licking his feet, you may have an allergic reaction on your hands. Your veterinarian can diagnose your pet and prescribe medication to help your dog feel more comfortable.
Funky Water Can Be Fatal
Carry a fresh bottle of water when you and your dog leave the house. Your pet’s nose is very close to the ground, which makes it incredibly easy to take a quick drink from puddles, ditches, ponds, and rivers. Many people don’t realize that one of these little sips could prove fatal!
Stagnant water holds bacteria. These bacteria can cause minor gastrointestinal upsets that clear up on their own. You may notice a day of diarrhea, excessive gas, or even a meal vomited onto the floor. These things aren’t overly concerning.
Leptospirosis, however, is very concerning. This is a much more serious bacterial infection. It can not only be potentially fatal for your pet, but it is zoonotic, which means that it is transmissible to humans! So keep your own water source close at hand, and prevent your pup from drinking from stagnant pools, gutters, or other natural sources.
Keep Watch for Creepy Crawly Critters
You and your dog aren’t the only animals aching to start moving again — spiders, rodents, and wild animals are on the prowl during spring.
Depending on where you live, your pet may be exposed to poisonous insects. Some dogs may even be allergic to bees, fire ants, and other commonplace lawn critters. Also, no matter where you live, rodent poison is never safe for your dog.
The moral of the story is to keep an eye on your dog when they are outside. If your dog eats a strange insect and begins to display signs of distress, it’s time for a trip to the vet. If your dog eats rodent poison, pesticide or insecticide, don’t wait for distress, call the vet immediately. Don’t let your or a neighbor’s desire to rid your home and yard of insects and creatures be a death sentence for your best friend.
Count on Us to Help Shake the Cobwebs off After a Long Winter
At Greenlin Pet Resorts, we are just as happy with the change in weather as you are! We are thrilled to be able to get back outside with our best friends and yours. We offer a variety of services for the discerning pet guardian, including dog daycare, dog boarding, and dog training.
We can help your dog build their endurance while you are at work by engaging in play and games with their favorite camp buddies. This not only keeps your dog entertained, but it also keeps them active, so the two of you can spend the weekends hiking your favorite trails without a care in the world. Our obedience classes are also available to teach you and your pup techniques for avoiding hazards and imparting control while adventuring out and about.
Call a pet daycare and dog training location near you today, or contact us online. We cannot wait to see you, but we are especially excited to see your dog!