With the official start of spring just over a week away, owners and dogs alike love the longer days and slightly warmer weather. I love spring and so do all my pets, but with spring, remembering their health is an important step in dog ownership. In all our excitement to get outside after a long winter, owners can often forget about important spring health tips for their dog. So before you head outside, take a few minutes to remind yourself of these spring health tips.
1) Avoid the Weekend Push
When the first rays of sunlight start to hint at winter, I know that I am ready to get outside and get hiking. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of a lot of exercise all at once after months of minimum exercise.
During the first few weeks of spring, veterinarians see a host of minor injuries due to too much exercise after the winter slow down. To ensure that your dog stays healthy as you break into a new routine, gradually build up your exercise.
Avoid starting with long hikes or intense periods of play. Simply start with a slow walk around the neighborhood and then build up. After a few weekends, your canine and you will be ready to start heading into those long hikes as you did the summer before.
2) Get Rid of Standing Water
With the melting snow and extra springtime rain, an excellent spring health tip is to remove any standing water in your yard.
If you are not aware, standing water is breeding ground for mosquitoes. And this puts your dog at risk for heartworm in the summer. To avoid having too many mosquitoes around your house, pour out any standing water in your yard.
Be sure to check side yards and all around your house. Even cleaning out the eaves can help prevent standing water and will keep the yard much more enjoyable for you and your dog in the summer.
3) Take Stock of Plants
Several holidays over the spring months mean that a few dangerous plants can find their way into your home. While we love their beauty, they can be poisonous to dogs.
In addition, many new plants are sprouting in yards and gardens and there can be some serious risks in your garden for your dog’s health. Avoid or monitor your dog around these certain springtime blooms:
- Lily of the Valley
4) Limit Cleaning Supplies
With spring comes spring-cleaning and it can present some hidden dangers for your dog. An excellent spring health tip is to really take care of what you are doing with your cleaning supplies.
Never leave out buckets of water and cleaner as some dogs find the smell inviting to drink. Every year, dogs suffer accidental poisoning because of cleaning supplies. Spring cleaning increases the risk.
In addition, when you clean out an area (such as a garage or shed) be sure to dispose of any toxic agents such as pesticides, fertilizers, and other cleaning agents to prevent an accidental poisoning.
Finally, avoid cleaning an area with a strong smelling cleaner, such as bleach, if the dog is in the room. It is not healthy for you and breathing in the strong fumes could cause respiratory problems in your dog.
5) Limit Muddy Playtime
With spring comes all of the rain and melting snow. And with rain comes mud. Dogs love it. People, however, don’t like it as much.
Although playing in the mud can be a lot of fun for a dog, early spring mud can have hidden dangers. Be aware of the activities your dog is taking part in while in the mud. There can be hidden ice that hasn’t melted yet and the mud itself can be quite slippery.
A slip in the mud can throw a kneecap or hurt your dog’s hips. For that reason, try to keep playtime to the minimum during muddy days. And make sure your dog is not roughhousing in the mud as that can increase the risk of an injury.
By following these few spring health tips, you can ensure the best spring experience. Not only will it be warm, it will be a wonderful time of year for both of you. And if you are looking at improving your spring health, why not look at adopting another friend from a rescue. Springtime often sees an abundance of animals in rescues. What better way to welcome spring than by bringing home a new friend.