Spring is the time when we start to get outdoors again. We do yard work, home improvements, work on our cars, go hiking and of course there is spring cleaning. Don’t forget Easter with egg hunts and large family gatherings. All of these activities can present potential hazards to your dog. By knowing the danger exists, you can help minimize the risk associated to your best four-legged friend.
The Easter holiday poses many potential hazards for your dog. Easter baskets are filled with chocolate treats that can be tempting to your dog.
Chocolate can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and even toxicity if your dog ingests too much. The best bet is to keep candy and Easter baskets out of reach of your furry friends and educate children on these hazards as well.
Ingestion of human food that may be too much for your dog’s gastrointestinal system is also a hazard seen during any large family holiday. People are often tempted to sneak a cute pet some human food under the table.
This can lead to diarrhea or pancreatitis, which can be severe enough to hospitalize your pet. Ask your guests to please not feed the dog. Provide small, low-calorie dog treats for your guests that insist on giving the dog a snack.
In addition, if you are having egg hunts on your property, be sure they are all found before your pet seeks them out days later and eats an egg full of bacteria.
If your dog shows any signs of stomach upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy or painful abdomen, take him to the vet as soon as possible to ensure he does not have a serious disease process underway.
2. Too much too soon
Once the weather begins to get a little warmer, it is tempting to start up your outdoor activities again. Naturally you want to take along your canine companion and enjoy the great outdoors.
Just remember that your dog has not been as active over the winter months and will need to work up to the increased exercise. Start slow and get yourself and your dog into shape before tackling that all day hike up the mountain or running that 10k.
Just like you, your dog is prone to bursitis and ligament injuries as well as sore muscles if he does too much right off the bat. This is especially true for older dogs that may already be suffering from painful arthritis.
If you notice your dog limping or having trouble doing normal activity such as climbing stairs or jumping into the car, have him checked out by a veterinarian to ensure he hasn’t injured himself.
Warmer weather means more bugs. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can be a dangerous nuisance to you and your dog. Fleas can cause itching, skin infections and tapeworms.
In extreme cases, an overload of fleas can cause dangerous levels of anemia in your dog. In the best cases, fleas are a miserable nuisance to you and your dog.
Ticks carry dangerous diseases for both you and your dog. More common tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis. All of these can make your dog sick and are potentially fatal diseases without treatment. Finally, mosquitoes carry heartworm.
This parasite gets into the bloodstream and matures in the heart eventually causing fatal heart failure. All of these parasites can be avoided using prevention. It is a good idea to test for heartworm and tick-borne disease every year and consult with your vet for the best preventive care products for your geographic location and lifestyle.
4. Cleaning Products and Landscaping Hazards
Even spring cleaning can be a hazard for your dog. High concentrations of chemicals can be irritating to sensitive noses and cause a rhinitis or tracheitis. Ingestion of these chemical can cause ulcerations of the esophagus or stomach, vomiting and diarrhea, and toxicities to the liver or kidneys.
If you are doing heavy cleaning, lock your dog out of the room for a while until products dry on surfaces and the fumes dissipate. Be sure to keep all cleaning materials out of reach of your dog.
Landscaping can also present hazards to your dog. Pesticides can have the same effects as cleaning supplies and their use should be avoided when your dog is around.
Some products like slug baits and rat poisons can have fatal consequences for your dog. It is best, if you must use these products, to put them in an inaccessible location for your dog. Research plants before putting them in your yard. Some plants are highly toxic if your dog decides to chew on them.
Other plants like very hot peppers can cause irritation just by touching the skin. Finally, even mulch and fertilizer can cause problems if your dog has too much exposure.
Use carefully when working with these products, especially if your dog is a digger. Puppies are especially curious and will put almost anything in their mouths at least once. Most of the time if your pet has ingested a small amount of fertilizer or mulch it will manifest as gastrointestinal upset with diarrhea and possibly vomiting.
More serious toxicities can also cause neurologic issues such as tremors and seizures. If you see your dog ingest any cleaning or insecticide product, be sure to get him to the vet as soon as possible. The faster treatment is initiated, the less severe the consequences. It is also a good idea to bring the product label with you to the vet so he or she can see exactly what ingredients your dog ingested.
5. Seasonal Allergies
Finally, even our dogs are not safe from seasonal allergies. Grasses, pollens, molds and parasites can make spring miserable for your dog. Signs of seasonal allergies are itching and redness of the skin, ear infections, licking of paws, watery eyes and sneezing or coughing.
If any of these occur, be sure to consult with your veterinarian as these signs can also point to more serious conditions. Often your veterinarian will be able to provide suggestions and medication that will provide your dog with some relief until the allergy season passes.
Guest Post by Dog Struggles