Springtime Tips for Pets and Pet-Owners
Spring is my favorite time of year, but it does come with its own set of issues for our pets, just like any other season. Warmer weather means spending more time outside, and more bugs making an appearance. We must make sure our pets are protected against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
We must also take care to make sure our dogs and cats are getting enough water when temperatures increase, and are ready to interact with other dogs and people if we plan to take them to the dog park. Read on for some tips and reminders to get you and your pet ready for spring!
Fleas and Ticks
No matter which form of protection we use, it is vital to protect our pets against fleas and ticks, especially depending on what part of the country we live in. There are several flea and tick control options out there. They range from pills, to shampoos, to topicals to collars. Check out what Hollywood Feed has for sale here. Read more about flea and tick prevention, and what options may be right for your pet here. Some dogs may need a Seresto collar, while others may benefit more from the topical Advantage Multi. Read more about the Seresto collar for dogs and cats, my personal favorite, here.
Mosquitos and Heartworms
The spring also means that mosquitos are back. Mosquitos love to bite me, and that’s annoying…but when they bite our pets, they are potentially infecting them with heartworms. We may not see signs of heartworms in our pets, such as shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue until the heartworms have grown significantly, up to a foot in length. This is why heartworm prevention and a yearly heartworm test are so important. Heartworms live in the lungs, blood vessels and hearts of our pets, causing extra strain, severe damage and potentially heart failure and death. They will grow inside our pets until they reach maturity and then reproduce inside of our dogs and cats, causing their numbers to grow. Please get yearly heartworm tests and provide your pets with heartworm prevention!
Spring means increased temperatures, and they just keep rising all summer! Make sure dogs and cats have access to water whether they are spending time indoors or out. Read this for more fun ways to keep pets hydrated.
One way to provide extra moisture in our pets’ diet is to feed them canned food or raw food occasionally. These both provide added moisture for pets who don’t drink enough water. This can be especially important for cats.
Cats may become dehydrated more easily than dogs because they are so picky. They like to drink running water that never sits still or becomes stagnant. A good tool for keeping our pets’ water moving is the Drinkwell Fountain. It constantly rotates water for our cats or our dogs.
Also, our pets may experience some decreased appetite in the spring and summer due to increased temperatures or activity. If our pet is still eating and not losing much weight, this is probably not a big concern.
More Time Outdoors
Being outside more means encountering other people, dogs and cats in our neighborhoods or at the dog park. Make sure your dog is well socialized and able to stay calm and friendly during these encounters! Learn more about some ways to socialize your dog here.
We should also consider that our dogs may get into something that they shouldn’t when we’re outside more. It may be the trash can, it may be a rodent poison that our neighbors left outside, or it may be a poisonous plant we didn’t know was in our yard. Make sure to supervise outdoor time and do a sweep of the backyard to look for harmful items.
If we do not have a fenced backyard, or we would like to have our dog spend time in the front yard with us without taking off after a cat, then look into yard containment systems like PetSafe’s Stay and Play. It works really well for my youngest dog, Fitzgerald. He will now stay in our garage or right outside of it and watch interesting things on my street instead of going to explore them. A simple beep from his collar will warn Fitz when he’s about to leave the acceptable radius.
When we get the cleaning bug and start to dust and organize our wintertime clutter, let’s give our pet’s stuff a spring cleaning as well!
It’s time to clean our pet’s food and water bowls thoroughly. This should already be happening weekly, but if it’s been a while then be sure to wash the bowls with soap and warm water, or even run them through the dishwasher.
It’s fun to get a new collar and leash for a new season, or a new thinner dog bed that will be more comfortable in warmer temperatures. We should at least make sure to wash our pet’s old collar, leash and bed for the spring!
Let’s give our cats’ litter boxes a good, thorough cleaning for them also. We can even consider getting them a brand new clean box. Cats love to use a clean bathroom!
Our dogs really start shedding their winter coats at this time of year. That may mean a little more scratching or chewing, especially if we don’t keep them brushed regularly. Read about why we should brush our pets regularly here. We should also take them to be groomed with a summertime cut or give them a good bath at home or at one of Hollywood Feed’s Self-Washes. Check out Nootie’s medicated shampoos and conditioners, and their great-smelling spritzes!
- Jessie Isbell