Spring is here (I think) and with spring comes warmer weather, sunshine and spending weekends outside with your fubabies (again I think) but with those things come some hazards and dangers that you may not always be aware of. To help ensure you and your dog(s) are safe and healthy all spring long here are a few things you should keep on your radar. As always anything related to your dog’s health is best left to your veterinarian but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
What to Watch for this Spring to Help Keep Your Dog Healthy
1. Canine Cough (Kennel Cough)
One of the most common illnesses amongst dogs is Kennel Cough or Canine Cough as we like to refer to it. Canine cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can be spread through air, direct contact or contaminated surfaces. Spring time often means more dogs at the dog park, your favorite patio or just playing at backyard barbecues meaning a higher chance for it to spread! Below is an infographic with more information on what to look for, tips to prevent and how to treat. While most dogs do not require treatment for canine cough it is best to visit your vet if you notice any symptoms.
2. Fleas and Ticks
While we are sure you are aware of all the dangers that fleas and ticks present it’s a very important reminder to be sure your dog is treated with a flea & tick preventative all year long however even more important during the warmer months. Fleas and ticks can be host to a number of diseases but most common are heartworm and lyme disease. In addition to using a vet approved flea and tick preventative it’s recommended to also use a monthly heartworm preventative and daily checks of your dog’s coat will help ensure a healthy dog this spring!
Just like humans, dogs are prone to allergens too! Whether it is dander from plants or that nice green grass in your yard, if your dog is suddenly developing red, irritated skin or constantly itching it’s a good idea to see your vet as it could be allergies. Dogs with allergies can benefit from a variety of products such as topical solutions or antihistamines similar to Benadryl but please consult with your vet before administering any treatments to your dog.
4. Lawn Treatments & Pesticides
Oh how much we love those green, dandelion free yards – but at what cost? If you have a dog some of those fertilizers and pesticides can be harmful and even fatal for your dog. Whether your dog eats treated grass or ingests it after licking their paws it’s always best to speak with your lawn care provider to ensure the chemicals and pesticides they are using are either pet friendly or the amount of time you must wait before it is safe to allow your dog(s) on your lawn. Thinking of treating your lawn yourself? There are many pet friendly options out there so please be sure to read the labels carefully before applying anything to your yard!
5. Contagious Diseases and Intestinal Parasites
Yuck! While fleas and ticks are the visible disease carrying pests there are many parasites and pests that we cannot see lurking everywhere and the spring time is a breeding ground for them all. Spring thaws and standing water result in many dangers for dogs to ingest parasites such as hookworms and protozoas like coccidia and giardia. These spores and parasites can be found in fecal matter and are most commonly ingested when dogs drink infected water from puddles, stepping in them then licking their paws or from nose to rear greetings with infected dogs. Symptoms can vary but the most common ones are found in your dog’s stool – so if your dog has diarrhea, their stool contains blood, worms or a thick mucus like substance it’s best to see your vet to check their stool with a fecal float or antigen test. Treatments and the recovery times vary but it is best to keep your dog from community dog parks or daycare/boarding facilities until they are cleared by your vet.
6. Toxic Plants & Shrubs
What goes better with a nice, green yard than some lovely flowers and shrubs? Well, if you have dogs you might want to examine your landscape more closely as there are several that can be toxic to dogs! While lilies are one of the most toxic plants, daffodils and tulips also have high toxin levels though most of those are found in their bulbs. Begonias and hyacinths are others to watch for and if you come across any mushrooms, it’s your best bet to steer clear as a large majority of fungus can be fatal to your dog though the most common is nicknamed “The Jeweled Death Cap” – yikes!