Five springtime dog care myths busted, and the truth behind them

Five springtime dog care myths busted, and the truth behind them

Health & Safety

In early spring when the first flowers begin to break through the earth and the evenings start getting lighter, we all tend to feel more positive and hopeful, in anticipation of the arrival of summer.

Spring can be one of the most rewarding times of the year to be a dog owner, and those morning walks might mean that you’ll be the first to see the early shoots of spring flowers, the first butterflies flittering around, and all of the other indications that warmer days are just around the corner.

Spring is also a great time of year for dog walks and fun events, because the weather tends to be mild if not always dry, and yet not too hot as to require additional care to be taken to prevent your dog from overheating.

However, as is the case for all four of the seasons of the year, caring for your dog in spring means taking into account various seasonal factors that need to be managed, and some season-specific issues and potential problems that you should be aware of and mitigate against.

If you’re searching the internet to find out if there’s anything special you should do to care for your dog in the springtime, you’ve probably already found a whole host of articles online, and may have begun to notice that some of them directly contradict the advice given in others.

Finding plausible, reliable information on caring for dogs in the spring is sometimes difficult because everyone has different views and experiences – and there are a lot of myths and misconceptions floating around about dog care in the spring that can catch the unwary dog owner out.

With this in mind, this article is dedicated to spreading the word about five common springtime dog care myths that tend to do the rounds every single year, and telling you the truth behind them.

Read on to learn five springtime dog care myths, and how to avoid falling for them.

1. Dogs know to avoid dangerous plants and flowers

Springtime is when many of us start thinking about gardening, and planting bulbs, seeds and plants all ready for a colourful summer. There are of course a huge variety of plants on offer when it comes to choosing what you want to do with your garden, and it might not even occur to you that some of them can actually be toxic to dogs if ingested.

Many people also carry the misapprehension that dogs automatically or instinctively know if a plant or flower is toxic for them, and this is partially true in some cases – for instance, branches from some poisonous trees taste bitter if your dog chews them, and so they will probably avoid sticks from certain trees as a result.

However, dogs don’t have an instinctive awareness about plants that are dangerous or good to eat any better than we humans do – so always check before you buy new plants or flowers for your home or garden to ensure that they are not toxic to dogs.

2. Natural garden products are by definition safe around your dog

Pesticides, weed killer, and nutrients to help your lawn or plants grow more quickly are all widely used in the UK, and most of us already know that chemical compounds and things like pesticides can harm your dog. You should always be very thorough about checking that anything you plan to use in your garden is safe for dogs – and not assume that products that are marketed as natural or made from organic materials are necessarily safe.

Cocoa mulch and cocoa bean husks, for instance, are really popular today to use on gardens, and as they’re all natural and by-products of cocoa harvesting, might well seem like the safest thing to use in a garden a dog shares.

However, just as chocolate and cocoa are toxic to dogs, so are cocoa by-products used in the garden, and so things like this should not be assumed to be safe just because they’re plant-based in origin.

3. If a dog gets hayfever or allergies, they’ll show symptoms from year one

Allergies can affect dogs just as they do people, and hayfever, pollen allergies and specific seasonal plant-based triggers are often more prolific in the spring than they are the rest of the year.

If your dog reliably shows signs of springtime allergies every year and has always done so since they were a puppy, you can pre-empt and mitigate against their symptoms – but not all allergies are present from a young age.

Dogs can and do develop seasonal allergies when older, sometimes having lived through several previous springs without any problems. Don’t assume that what looks like allergy symptoms isn’t an allergy because your dog has never had a problem before – ask your vet to investigate.

4. Ticks don’t become a problem until later on in the year

Fleas and other parasites tend to breed and be more prolific in spring and summer, although this doesn’t mean that dogs are safe from them in winter and autumn!

Ticks too tend to be more of an issue for dogs in warmer weather and heading into autumn, but may dog owners assume that ticks aren’t really an issue in the spring at all.

However, this is not the case, and in areas prone to hosting ticks, dogs will often pick them up very early on in the spring, and they can also be harder to spot because they’re apt to be smaller as they have yet to find enough hosts to feed from and grow larger.

Always check your dog thoroughly for ticks after springtime walks, and remove any that you find safely and quickly.

5. Your dog won’t need a coat for walks from spring onwards

As soon as the sun comes out, we start thinking ahead to summer and preparing to pack away our winter clothes in anticipation of balmier days ahead. However, spring can be really variable from day to day and often sees sudden drops in temperature, or frosty mornings well into April during some years.

Don’t assume that just because things are brightening up that your dog won’t need their waterproof coat any more – always check the weather prior to walks, and keep your dog warm and comfortable until the weather really has warmed up enough to discard those warm wrappings!



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