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Springtime Health Checklist for Pets

03/19/20
springtime pets health

We are fast approaching the return of longer days and springtime warmth. 

As we awake from our winter slumber and come back to life ourselves, it’s the perfect time to get pets ready for the rest of their year too.

When it comes to the health of your furry friends, there’s a lot to be aware of and not just the routine stuff that may have already crossed your mind. 

This time of year comes with its own unique set of risks and things to pay attention to. 

Read on for tips and tricks geared especially to springtime! 


Doing Some Spring Cleaning?

Dusting out the home and cracking open the windows is something that we all look forward to this time of year, but some of the chemicals in cleaning products might not be healthy for your pet to be around. 

This goes for natural, seemingly safe cleaning products too! 

Many “non-toxic” cleaners contain extremely concentrated essential oils - which can have detrimental effects on the health of your pets. 

To play it safe, be sure to double-check the ingredients on the products that you use for any warnings and potential interactions. 

And if possible, take advantage of the fresh air when you're done to keep any scents from overwhelming your animals. In many cases - they are far more sensitive to smells than we are.

 

Flowers and Plants Are Great But…

Like with cleaning products, many of them that are safe for us to be around can be toxic to animals. Before you get to sowing your springtime seeds, you might want to dig into whether or not your plants might be poisonous to your animals. 

Even seemingly gentle “window sill” herbs like chives, mint, and oregano can be unsafe for cats and other animals. You’ll need to keep an eye on the soil, mulch, and fertilizer that you’re using too, as it can be laced with potentially toxic plant foods that may be all too tempting for your pet to dig up and play in. 

Of course, what is toxic and what is not will vary a bit from species to species. If you are uncertain of the safety of a plant for your pet and are unable to verify it with a credible source, it’s best to check with your vet. 


Annual Check-Ups and Vaccinations 

The spring season is the ideal time to make sure that your pets are up to date on their vaccinations and annual workups. 

This is one thing that you won’t want to skip if you plan on taking your dog for walks or trips to the park to play.

During this time of year, many other pet parents will have the same idea and be out with their furry family members, making it easier for disease to spread. 

Not to mention the other undomesticated wildlife coming back out in full force. A run-in with a sick fox or raccoon could mean bad news if shots aren’t kept up to date. 


Seasonal Complications 

The spring season invites a host of other complications that you should do your best to stay on top of too. While we touch on some of them below, there may also be things that are variable and specific to your environment. Use your best judgment! 


Allergies 

Humans aren’t the only ones that have adverse reactions to allergens. Pets can fall victim to an allergy flare-up too, and they’re particularly susceptible during this time of year. 

With animals, the symptoms can present in a way that is a little less obvious than they are for people. This is because our pets typically have more histamine receptors on their skin than they do in their nose and airways.  

Seasonal allergies often manifest as itching, chewing and clawing at the skin. 


Ticks and the diseases they carry 

Ticks feel right at home while crawling through pet fur. It’s easy for them to hide out there and in-turn dig their way into the skin unnoticed. 

Ticks and the diseases that they often carry can cause big issues. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, you will want to be sure to talk with your vet about the precautions that you can take ahead of time and in the event that you discover one. 


Heartworms 

When the mosquitoes come out to play, cases of heartworm disease increase. 

Once bit by a mosquito, the immature microscopic organisms travel through the bloodstream where they land and set out to mature in the confines of the heart, blood vessels and lungs. 

Not all mosquitoes carry the disease, but enough of them do that precautions are necessary. 

Two of the major symptoms to be aware of are coughing and respiratory issues. In cats, easily observable symptoms are rare and it can be difficult to detect in the early stages. 


But there’s no need to feel helpless! 

In the event that your pet does fall victim, there are plenty of medications that can help. 

When you work with your veterinarian, you can even develop a prevention plan before the season takes hold.