The air is warmer, the days are longer, and your urge to get out and play with your dog is bursting. For your dog to enjoy a vibrant, healthy warm weather season, precautions and care are a must.
Protect Your Dog: First Stop Vet
Your first spring stop should be your vet. Vets are busy, so the earlier you can make this appointment, the better. Here’s what needs to be on your vet visit list.
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Treatments
Keeping your dog protected from these nasty pests is essential all the time, but especially for dogs who will be spending a lot of time outdoors. Fleas thrive in warm, dry weather and love nothing more than to find an unwilling host to house them. Flea infestation causes misery, especially if your dog is allergic to flea bites. Ticks carry several diseases including Lyme Disease and Anaplasma, among others. Heartworms cause a life-threatening disease for dogs that is transmitted by an infected mosquito. You can protect your dog from all these potential disease organisms. Ask your vet what they think is the best set of products for your pup.
Get a Worm Check
Worms cause all kinds of problems, some serious and some annoying, ranging from diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration to anemia to more critical problems such as intestinal blockage, and pneumonia.
So do chat with your vet about testing to check on intestinal issues.
Keep an Eye Out for Allergies
The typical symptoms of allergies in dogs include itching, hives, swelling around the face, red skin, sneezing, vomiting, runny eyes, and incessant licking. Diagnosing the cause of your dog’s allergy is a slow process of eliminating possible culprits one-by-one. You can also talk to your vet about testing your dog as well as what to use for symptom relief.
Clean your Dog’s Toys, Crate, and Bedding
It’s spring-cleaning time! Just as you’re giving your home a thorough cleaning, don’t forget about your dog’s stuff. Bedding is a common collection point for all kinds of dirt and needs to be washed regularly. Be sure to clean and disinfect the inside of the crate thoroughly. Put toys in the dishwasher or soak them in two parts hot water and one-part white vinegar.
Bathe and Groom Your Pup
Off to the groomer! For your upcoming outdoor activities, you want your dog to be clean and trimmed to discourage the addition of any unwanted pests.
Inspect Your Dog’s Romping Grounds
If your dog’s outdoor romping includes time in your yard, do a thorough inspection for any living or non-living things that can cause injury or infestation. Consider spraying your yard for fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, and remove any debris such as sticks and garbage.
It’s important to note that whatever products you use, it’s important to utilize pet-friendly products.
Take Exercise Slow
You know how you overdo it on those early spring days? And you know how you feel the next day? The same is true for a dog who has been basically inactive all winter. The moral of this story is to take it slow and easy, gradually building up to climbing the tallest mountain or swimming a mile without stopping.
The blue skies and moderate temperatures beckon and you are anxious to get moving with your treasured companion. Some activities are just made for spring, including:
In the Water
Your backyard pool, the ocean, pond, stream, or lake: the play possibilities in water are endless. Play Frisbee or toss a ball in ocean waves, hike along a mountain stream, or even splash around in a kiddy pool. One of the newest activities for dogs and owners is dock diving, which involves tossing something into the water while your dog sits quietly until you give the command to jump in. You can play this anywhere there is a dock, but especially in the beginning, a backyard pool with an attached deck is the safest bet.
On the Water: Boating
Just imagine cruising along with your buddy in a canoe or kayak, sailboat, or motorboat. If this is something you want to do, be sure to get and have him wear a perfectly-fitted life jacket at all times.
If you have an active, high-energy dog, then biking alongside you may be a perfect exercise option. However, to keep both you and your dog safe, purchase one of the bike leashes that are specifically designed to prevent mishaps. Another tip is to ride on a roadway or path without a lot of activity.
Walks and Hikes
On the lesser scale of energy exercise are walks and hikes, which you can do anywhere. Located nearby are canyon trails, mountain trails, and, of course, urban paths. Research local trails and paths to make sure pets are allowed as well as their various degrees of difficulty.
Chances are your dog knows some basic commands, but how about upping the ante to teach him some tricks?
If your pup is in need of some playtime, an optimal choice in doggy daycare where dogs are supervised, and most of all, evaluated before being accepted into daycare. Be it a half day or full day, a doggy daycare facility is a great option!
So, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, but adhere to safety standards and be sure to protect your dog this spring.