Spring Tips for Your Pups
Fleas,Ticks, and Heartworm: Time to ensure the fleas and ticks don’t hop a ride onto your dog or into your house. If you haven’t already, get him started on preventative. If you like topical drops, I like Revolution, and Advantage. Or you can invest in a Seresto collar, which lasts for 8 months. Be very careful to get the right dose of drops, as overdosing, say, a small dog, could cause toxicity, possible seizures and death. (And never use a topical designed for dogs on a cat!) Continue to ensure your dog has a heartworm preventative. this should be year-round. If your dog hasn’t had the heartworm preventative in a while, it is wise to have him tested at your veterinarian prior to administering it again.
Seasonal Allergies: When the grass starts growing, and the breezes are wafting pollen, your dog can experience seasonal allergies. If you notice your dog itching or developing skin problems like hot spots and hair loss, it might be a seasonal allergy. Discuss it with your vet to see if you can get by with dose-appropriate Benadryl, or will need something else. There are excellent topical foams and sprays to help with hot spots, but you’ll also want to address the underlying allergy during the season. A note on Benadryl: Benadryl is contraindicated with certain conditions, such as pets with glaucoma, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It’s always best to contact your veterinarian for guidance before administering any medication to your pet, including Benadryl. The standard dosage for oral Benadryl is 1 mg per pound of body weight, given 2-3 times a day. Most drug store diphenhydramine tablets are 25 mg, which is the size used for a 25 pound dog. Always double-check the dosage before giving an over the counter medication. In addition, many formulations are combined with other medications such as Tylenol so make sure Benadryl tablets contain only diphenhydramine.
Yard clean-up: Be sure to rake up and remove small sticks from dead brush, as biting them the wrong way can cause throat obstruction or abrasions in your dog’s mouth. Also, reconsider putting harsh chemicals like weed-killers on your lawn or walkways, as licking this off their paws are really bad for your animals. A great, natural way to kills weeds on walkways is with white vinegar. Use a spray bottle to spray the vinegar onto clumps of weeds. Within a day or so, the weeds will die and you can pull them up easily. Stay away from cocoa mulch, which is toxic to pets. Also, a note on plants in your house or garden: be aware that a number of plants are toxic to your pets. These include spring favourites like lilies (including Lily of the Valley, Daffodils (the bulbs), Azaleas, etc. Here’s a link to the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants.
Dangerous Food: Spring and Easter often bring chocolate into the house, which is toxic to dogs. Make sure candy is kept out of reach of counter surfers, and not left anyplace a dog can get into it. Also be aware that sugar-free candy often contains Xylitol, which is toxic for your dogs and can cause severe neurological problems.
Spring Cleaning: This is the time of year people often make a concerted effort to clean up the dust and grime accumulated over the past year, in cleaning blitzes that often make use of strong chemicals. These can cause skin irritation to pets, respiratory issues, and poisoning if ingested. All cleaning products should be properly sealed and stored out of your dog’s reach when not in use, or consider using basic homemade substitutions, such as baking soda and lemon, to make your own cleaning products.
Easing into Exercise: Spring comes and we (and our dogs) are wildly excited to get off the couch and become more active outside, including longer walks, hikes, etc. But you need to ease into it, so your dog doesn’t become over-exerted after his winter inactivity, or end up with an injury. This is the time of year we see a lot more cruciate ligament tears in veterinary offices.
And now for something upbeat: here’s a link to a BuzzFeed post about dogs in spring. 27 Dogs Who Just Can’t Handle Spring