Keep Your Dog Safe This Spring

Ah, there is nothing quite like spring. You’ve got your windows open, the green grass is back, and the kids are outside playing. It’s the ideal time to get outside with your dog and enjoy the warm weather, longer days, and funky spring smells. However, we do want to remind you that with this new season comes some hidden dangers and threats to your very curious dog. Whether your dog is a senior dog or an energetic young puppy, it’s highly likely that they’ll dig up some trouble this spring. We want you to get your dog outside and even when possible let him run off-leash for some extra joint-building exercise – but remember that with the melting snow comes the potential for injury and hazards. To help you and your beloved dog get the most out of the springtime weather and this almost-summer feeling, we’ve put together a list of potential threats and caution zones for you and your dog. Now, we don’t want you stressing needlessly and keeping your dog from following his nose, but remember the snow covered up a lot of garbage, junk, and other potential hazards. Watch Your Windows and Patio Doors We’ve all done it, we’ve opened our unscreened windows and patio doors and forgotten about our curious dog. Please make sure that all of your windows and patio doors have secure and sturdy screens in place. Repair any rips and tears and make sure your energetic puppy cannot blast through the screen with a speedy run. Practice Safe Driving In the winter, we relax our driving a bit and let our dogs enjoy the freedom of the backseat without being buckled in. Now that you’re driving with your windows down or sunroof open, make sure your dog is securely buckled into the car. Either keep your dog in a special crate designed for automobiles or use a seatbelt harness – this keep your dog safe and give you confidence that an accident won’t happen. Please do not put your dog in the bed of your pickup – this is extremely dangerous and can be quite terrifying for your dog. If in doubt, leave your dog at home where he is safe and secure. Dog Safe Gardening There’s nothing better than spring gardening season. You get to dig in the dirt and plan for a summer of growing and blooming. When thinking about the plants and flowers for your garden, remember that your dog might have a penchant for some garden snacking. Before purchasing flowers, plants, and bushes – talk to your greenhouse staff about safety concerns for your dog. For example, rhododendron and azaleas are highly toxic to dogs and can be fatal if eaten. Slow and Steady Wins the Race You’re eager to get out for some long dog walks and runs. Your dog is tugging at the leash, asking to keep walking and to run a little bit faster. But remember, you’ve just spent the winter taking shorter and slower walks – so make sure you increase the pace and distance of your dog walks gradually. You don’t want to get injured and you don’t want your dog to get injured. Seasonal Allergies Just like us humans, our dogs can experience seasonal allergies. Be aware of any extra scratching, licking, chewing, or coughing. These can all be signs that your dog is dealing with seasonal allergies. Take your dog in for a visit with your veterinarian – do not self-diagnose and give your dog over-the-counter allergy medication. Hydrate and Stay Cool Yes, even in the spring the temperatures can creep up to a level where you need to be extra attentive to your dog’s hydration and body temperature. If you’re going out for a long hike or romp in the park, bring a collapsible dog bowl with you and encourage your dog to drink up. Pay attention to your dog’s energy levels and if he’s flagging, take a break from playing and walking. This is a great time to have a natural dog chew and slow down a bit. Ticks, Fleas and Other Bugs Spring is peak tick and bug season. Take your dog into the veterinarian for an update on his shots and any heartworm, tick, and flea prevention protocols. After each walk give your dog a thorough check-over for ticks and other bugs. If you do find a tick, carefully remove it and safely take into your veterinarian so it can be assessed for Lyme Disease. Puddles, Garbage, and Other Springtime Hazards Your dog loves to explore and follow his nose. We want you to encourage these natural tendencies but please keep a close eye on what your dog is digging up, rolling in, drinking from, and eating. Do not let your dog drink from puddles and other stagnant water. Do not let your dog eat anything he drags from the woods or finda along the sidewalk. The bacteria risk and potential for accidental poisoning is a huge risk with anything that your dog wants to eat or drink during your outdoor adventures. Dog Park Safety Your dog loves the dog park. You love the dog park. However, with the start of a new dog park season, remember to keep an eye on the other dogs at the dog park. Be on the look-out for any dogs that are bullying or playing too rough. As well, make sure your dog is playing safely. Keep an eye on the dog park gate – it takes just a split second for the gate to be open and for your dog or any other dog to make a speedy escape. Your Spring Dog Safety Tips We want to hear from you. Tell us  how you maximize spring while ensuring that your dog remains safe and sound. Your dog’s health and mobility is vitally important, so by being extra careful you can make sure your dog has a fun and active spring and summer. Visit the Leaps & Bounds Facebook community page and tell us how you get the most out of spring.   Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash