After our mild winter, spring has sprung early this year, and the weather is already warming up nicely! Spring is of course a lovely season to own a dog, as the weather is warm and mild enough for lots of energetic walks, exercise and enjoying the garden, but without the high temperatures of the summer that can potentially lead to heatstroke and overheating through play.
However, every season of the year presents its own challenges and potential risks to the dog, and spring is no exception. Enjoy the warmer weather and all of the joys of spring, but be on the lookout for potential problems and hazards, in order to keep your dog safe.
Read on to find out our top spring safety tips for dog owners.
Playing with your dog may well involve energetic games of catch and retrieve, but choose the toys you use for your dog carefully. Invest in good quality, sturdy, dog-safe toys such as hard rubber balls or other toys that you can throw for your dog, rather than allowing them to pick up sticks when out on their walks.
Throwing sticks for your dog can be dangerous on many levels, from potential injuries to the mouth from splinters, to ingestion of shards of wood that can puncture your dog’s internal organs. Also, sharp stick may potentially harm your dog, not to mention possibly clouting them over the head if your aim is poor!
When the air temperature is warm, it can be tempting to take your dog swimming in the sea, or in a nearby pond or stream. Remember, however, that the temperature of the water will be much lower than the temperature of the air, and below the surface level of any body of water, the temperature is likely to remain very low for some months to come.
Do not encourage your dog to dive into cool water to play; they may find that the temperature is low enough to shock their system and cause them to freeze up, putting them at risk of drowning and in danger of being unable to get back out of the water.
As the trees and bushes begin to grow in earnest, so will thorns, sharp sticks and other pointy objects proliferate. Be careful of your dog picking up thorns in their skin or in the pads of their paws, and check them carefully after every walk for any signs of puncture wounds or embedded thorns or sharp splinters.
Easter time is fast approaching, and for most of us, that means one thing: Chocolate! While you might well be looking forwards to involving your dog in your celebrations and Easter egg hunts, it is vital to remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can lead to severe poisoning and even potentially death. While some dogs will get away with eating chocolate unscathed, you should never give your dog chocolate or let them pick up scraps of chocolate, for their own good.
Keep some dog-safe treats to hand, to reward your dog with while you are enjoying your chocolate egg.
The warmer weather means that areas of the country that are prone to having ticks will begin to proliferate with these unpleasant parasitic bugs, which can attach themselves to your dog’s skin in order to feed. Ticks can cause localised infections and irritations, as well as potentially spread Lyme disease, so check your dog over for ticks regularly and earn about how to remove them.
Also, consider using a flea treatment that is effective against ticks too.
While fleas tend to die off somewhat during the winter months, as the weather gets warmer, they will come back with a vengeance! Hopefully you have been treating your dog for fleas on a monthly basis throughout the winter months, but if your flea treatment regime has lapsed somewhat, it is time to get back into the swing of things now to prevent flea infestation on your dog or in your home.
Certain plants, flowers and other flora can prove toxic to your dog if ingested, so if you are planning on doing some spring gardening and planting out some new flowers, check that anything you plan to introduce is safe for your dog.
Poisoning from plants and flowers can prove potentially serious to your dog, and can make them quite ill, as well as in some cases, unfortunately proving fatal.
Some of the most common springtime plants that can be toxic to dogs include:
While you do not necessarily need to avoid planting these flowers entirely, do bear in mind the potential risks they can pose to your dog, and locate them carefully to avoid ingestion.