April 27, 2022
5 Common Spring Hazards and How To Keep Your Dog Safe From Them
With spring in full swing and winter fading in the rearview, we think it’s safe to say the warm weather is officially here! That means getting outside with your pup for long walks and adventures in the great outdoors!
However, even though the cold weather is gone, there are still potential threats to your dog’s health. Pesky critters, toxic plants, or chemicals can all spell potential danger for your pup.
Here are five spring hazards and how to keep your dog safe from them.
#1 Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes
If you have a dog, you already know the dangers that ticks present. These parasites can carry bacteria that can infect your dog with illnesses, like Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Canine Ehrlichiosis. Your dog can exhibit symptoms any time between 24 hours to three weeks after a bite, so stay vigilant! Here’s a guide to finding and removing ticks and what to do if your pup is bitten.
Fleas are another necessary evil of dog ownership, and they are most active during the warmer months. Your dog can pick up fleas from contact with other animals or contact with the environment. Flea bites cause itchy skin, so if your dog is itching more than they usually do, you’ll want to check them for fleas. These tiny pests are about the size of the tip of a thumbtack and typically hide out in places away from sunlight, such as your pet’s stomach, legs, or ears. If your dog has fleas, you’ll need to pay a visit to your vet for medication. Flea shampoo is also an option, but the best treatment is to prevent fleas in the first place, so protect your dog with a flea preventive during the warmer months of the year!
More than just a buzzing nuisance, mosquitoes can be dangerous to your dog’s well-being. A mosquito bite presents the possibility of your dog contracting the potentially fatal disease, heartworm. When an infected mosquito bites your dog, they transfer the infestation of juvenile heartworms into your pup’s bloodstream. As these worms mature, they grow tremendously over a six-month period, and can cause irreparable damage to your dog’s vital organs. As with fleas, the best protection is prevention. Ask your vet about heartworm medication and the best option for your pup!
#2 Un-friendly Critters
Being cold-blooded, snakes avoid cold weather at all costs. As soon as the temperature drops below 65 degrees, snakes seek shelter and hunker down for the winter. While they don’t hibernate in the traditional sense of the word, they remain inactive to conserve their energy for the warmer months. As soon as the ground starts to warm up, snakes emerge from their shelter and become highly active, which could mean surprise interactions with you or your dog.
While there are hundreds of poisonous snake breeds throughout the world, the good news is that snakes are generally not aggressive animals. That means if you remain aware of your surroundings, you’ll probably be able to avoid any potentially dangerous run-ins. Venomous snake bites can lead to swelling, bleeding, vomiting, and difficulty breathing for your dog. Even non-venomous snake bites can lead to injury or infection, so if your dog gets bitten, it’s best to clean the wound and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The best way to avoid snakes is to stay away from places they usually spend most of their time. Snakes prefer cool, damp areas and seek protection from the sun when possible. Brush piles, next to bodies of water, tall grass, and shrubs are all prime real estate for snakes, so keep your dog clear of any of these potential breeding grounds. Also, make sure to brush up on your dog’s basic obedience commands if the event they do come into contact with a snake and avoid off-leash walks where you know snakes to be.
The spring season usually coincides with rain. And these spring showers can mean stagnant water and easily transmittable bacteria. If your dog drinks from puddles, no matter where they are, they are at risk of developing a host of infections or diseases, but the most dangerous and common remains Leptospirosis. Dogs can contract Leptospirosis not only from drinking infected water but also by coming in contact with it if they have an open sore or wound or coming in contact with urine from an infected animal.
Blue-green algae is another potential danger. This bacteria naturally occurs in both lakes and streams that receive a high amount of direct sunlight. While more common in the summer, as the bacteria requires temperatures over 75 degrees to thrive, it can still be found in many places during the spring months. Like Leptospirosis, dogs can get ill from drinking or even entering infected water. There is no known cure for the dangerous toxins contained in blue-green algae, so you’ll want to avoid it entirely. Many towns and states have blue-green algae monitoring, so you should be able to check the safety of your local bodies of water with a quick internet search.
Having a well-manicured lawn is a point of pride for many homeowners, but the chemicals necessary to maintain one may be dangerous to your four-legged family members. Fertilizers, mulch, and Metaldehyde used to attract plant-eating snails and slugs, can all be toxic to your dog. Pay attention to those plastic warning signs, and keep your pup off recently fertilized lawns. Also, don’t allow them to chew on or play in mulch or near recently treated plants.
Additionally, pesticides on insecticides can also be toxic to your dog. If your dog consumes treated grass or vegetation, it can result in drooling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Even just walking on a treated lawn could cause skin irritation and rashes. If you aren’t sure that a yard is safe, it’s best to keep your pet out of it!
Spring showers mean beautiful flowers of every shade popping up in gardens, neighborhoods, hiking trails, and public parks. While these plants may be a welcome sight after a muddy or snowy winter, they aren’t always dog-friendly. Several types of flowers can be toxic if ingested by your pet. So, if your dog makes a habit out of smelling (and potentially chewing on) plants, here’s a list of flowers to look out for:
- Baby’s Breath
If you’re planning on planting any of these in your garden, consider a mobile boundary from DogWatch® Hidden Fences to help keep your pup away from the potential hazard!
Spring is a fantastic time of year to get outside with your pup. Just remember that keeping them safe requires a little extra planning and precaution!
And don’t forget, you can restrict your dog’s access to dog-friendly areas of your property by using a DogWatch® Hidden Fence!