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When the flowers start to bloom and spring fever strikes, you’ll want to make sure you and your dog are ready. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure that this lovely season is an enjoyable and safe one.

Spring Health Preventatives for Dogs

Spring checkups are a great time to check to see if your dog’s weight changed over the winter months. Be sure to discuss any medical or behavioral changes you’ve noticed in your dog with your veterinarian. Knowing your dog has a clean bill of health can allow you and your dog to better enjoy any outdoor activities in the spring and summer.

Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm is a threat to dogs when mosquitoes breed in warm weather. When infected mosquitoes bite, the worms embed into the dog, eventually damaging the dog’s heart, lungs, and arteries. To prevent heartworm, veterinarians recommend having your dog tested annually and dosing them with a heartworm prevention medication year-round.

Dog Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas and ticks are also more prevalent when outdoor temperatures rise. Fleas are irritating to a dog’s skin and difficult to get rid of. Certain types of ticks can carry dangerous conditions, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To protect your pet, ask your veterinarian for preventatives such as a prescription pill, topical ointment, or a flea collar. Be sure to check your dog when coming back from wooded or grassy areas, too.

Spring Allergies in Dogs

Spring allergies sometimes cause uncomfortable reactions to pollen in dogs, as well as humans. However, instead of a runny nose, dogs typically get very itchy, especially on their feet, front legs, ears, and face, causing them to scratch, lick, or bite. While some breeds are more susceptible, any dog can suffer from allergies. Allergy shots, special shampoos, washing their bedding, and wiping off their feet and legs after they’re outside may help relieve these reactions.

Golden Retriever scratching an itch on its head outdoors.
vichuda/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Bee Stings in Dogs

Bee sting allergies are rare in dogs, but they’re serious and potentially deadly. If your dog is allergic to bee stings, your veterinarian may prescribe an EpiPen, and you’ll need to keep it readily available when your dog is outdoors.

Spring Home Care for Dogs

Spring Grooming for Dogs

Spring grooming for dogs comes to mind when temperatures rise and shedding increases. Brushing your dog can remove dead hairs. Shaving the coat of double-coated breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers and Australian Shepherds, however, is a bad idea. Losing the protection of their coat can make dogs hotter. Leave at least one inch of hair to protect your dog from sunburn, skin cancer, and bug bites.

Keeping Your Dog Inside

Screens on windows and doors keep insects outside and your dog inside. Dogs love to look out the window and may not hesitate to jump out to chase a squirrel, even from a second floor. Check your screens to make sure they’re strong and secure.

Rottweiler laying down in the couch sleeping in the sunshine.
JoeChristensen/E+

 

Keeping Your Home Cool

Cooling down your home is important for your comfort and critical to your dog. Air conditioning and fans are great, but it’s also important to be prepared in case you lose power. Cooling cloths, pads, and vests can help keep your dog’s body temperature regulated. Rubbing alcohol and spray bottles of water will also cool down your pup.

Outdoor Protection for Dogs

Garden Hazards for Dogs

Garden hazards become an issue when the weather is nice, and your dog will spend more time in your yard. You’ll need to ensure that your yard is secure, and check if your plants, fertilizers, and mulch are poisonous to dogs. Be sure to review which plants are poisonous to dogs before purchasing any new bulbs or plants for your yard. It’s also a good idea to clean up the ground under bird feeders because dogs can develop gastritis from eating moldy seeds or bird droppings.

©bazyuk - stock.adobe.com

Sunscreen for Dogs

Sunscreen can help protect dogs who are susceptible to sunburn. If your dog has a thin or white coat, or is a hairless breed, you need to provide your dog with plenty of shade and apply only a sunscreen made especially for dogs or babies.

 

Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke becomes a bigger threat as your dog spends more time outside. Be sure to keep plenty of fresh water available, and, as the temperature rises, monitor your dog’s exercise routine. While they might be delighted to spend all day retrieving a tennis ball, be sure to keep track of when it’s time to call it quits. And never leave a dog unattended in a car with closed windows any time temperatures are greater than 60 F.

Outdoor Events with Dogs

are occasions for tasty food and fun, but also come with some hazards for dogs. Make sure your yard is secure when you and your guests are coming and going, keep your dog away from hot grills and fire, and remember that some foods and drinks, such as grilled hot dogs, chicken bones, corn cobs, ice cream, or beer, can upset your dog’s stomach and may even be toxic.

Spring Outings with Your Dog

 

Dog First Aid Kits

Planning and packing for emergencies will help keep your dog safe when you travel. Up-to-date microchip information and collar tags allow someone to contact you if you and your dog are separated. A first-aid kit for your dog is essential in emergencies.

Dog Car Safety

Never leave your dog alone in your vehicle. Although the weather may seem pleasant to you, a car will heat up quickly, even with the windows cracked open. Many states have laws that prevent people from leaving dogs unattended in vehicles.

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Dog Obedience Training

Reinforce your dog’s obedience training before you head into the woods. With distractions like rabbits and other wildlife, your dog may be tempted to run off. Teach your dog to come when called, even when they’d like to ignore you.

 

Grass-Awn Disease in Dogs

Grass-awn disease can occur after a dog runs through a field containing foxtails or other barbed grasses. Foxtails enter a dog through the toes, ears, eyes, mouth, or nose. They’re painful, cause swelling, and can travel into the lungs and result in pneumonia. The best prevention is to keep your dog away from areas with foxtails or fields of tall grasses.

Water Safety for Dogs

Dog Pool Safety

Pool safety is important. Dogs should never have access to a swimming pool when you’re not there to watch them. Consider fencing your pool to avoid your dog accessing it when you’re not around. Teach your dog where to enter and exit a pool. Don’t allow your dog to swim while wearing a dangling tag that can get caught in a drain. Purchase a canine life jacket, especially if you take your dog boating or swimming in open water.

Golden Retriever swimming wearing a life vest fetching a ball.
©Wasitt - stock.adobe.com

 

Going to the Beach with Your Dog

Beach trips can be fun outings for you and your dog, but make sure to protect them from swallowing lots of saltwater, sand, or seaweed. Keep your dog in the shade and apply doggy sunscreen. Prevent your dog from eating sand and remember that hot sand can hurt your dog’s paws. If temperatures soar, leave your dog home.

Blue-Green Algae and Dogs

Blue-green algae, potentially deadly to dogs, is found in some lakes and ponds during warm-weather seasons. Keep your dog on a leash around bodies of water, don’t allow them to drink from a pond or lake, and look out for signs posted that warn of algae.

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