Published on March 23rd, 2017 | by Debbie Martin0
Springtime safety for your dogs
Spring is an exciting time for dogs so springtime safety and understanding the hazards is important. After being virtually housebound for months, they are suddenly taken out for long walks in the glorious sunshine and are able to take in the sights and sounds of the season. The daylight hours are growing longer and so it becomes gradually easier to find time to take the dog for a walk.
It’s not all good news, however. By taking their dogs out for walks, owners are thereby exposing them to hazards of the season. Since an active lifestyle is essential to the well-being of your dog, it’s worth taking the time to identify these hazards and how they might be avoided.
We are all familiar with the sights and sounds of spring. Animals are familiar with its smells and tastes, too, as they explore the world mostly through their nose and mouth. For this reason, poisonous plants which bloom during the spring can be dangerous for household pets. Dogs in particular are especially fond of eating any bright and colourful object they find themselves confronted with.
Be sure that you know which plants pose the greatest threat and that you watch your dog while you are out for walks. You should also be on the lookout for signs that your dog may have eaten something inadvisable.
The symptoms of this sort of poisoning are similar to those of being drunk. Your dog might vomit, stagger or even collapse. If you suspect that your dog has fallen victim to this sort of poisoning, then you should take it to the vet as soon as you can.
Spring is the time when wasps and bees become active once more. Fortunately, the threat posed by these insects is limited. If your dog should be stung, then, if possible, you should identify whether a bee or a wasp is responsible.
In the former case, stings should first be removed – if it is still in place. The sting can then be treated with bicarbonate of soda. This will help to neutralise the sting. In the latter case, malt vinegar or lemon juice will do the same job. In either case, allergic reactions might also occur, with more serious consequences – we will discuss this in greater detail later in the article.
As winter draws to a close, many of us are looking for an excuse to get the barbeque fired up. If this sounds like you and you happen to have a dog, then it’s worth making yourself aware of the human foods which pose a severe danger to your dog. Most of these – chocolate and caffeine, for example – are unlikely to come into contact with your dog. But alcohol is usually omnipresent.
If you are in the habit of inviting a lot of people over for a barbeque, then be sure that none of them feed alcohol to your dog. Their bodies are not equipped to metabolise it and its effects can be extremely harmful and in some cases even lethal.
Fleas and ticks
Spring is a time where a great deal of microscopic life comes out to play. The vast majority of this life is completely benign – or at least, as far as your dog is concerned. A minority, however, can pose a substantial threat to your dog.
A tick is a variety of parasite which will attach itself to your dog’s skin and suck its blood. The blood loss from this will be negligible; however, the process will cause significant irritation for your dog. It can also cause painful abscesses and transmit diseases. When a female tick finishes feeding, it can lay a thousand-strong clutch of eggs.
If your dog should become infested, then it is important to remove the ticks as quickly as possible in order that these dangers be minimised. You can buy tick removal kits at pet shops, or you can remove the ticks yourself using a pair of tweezers. If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself then take them to a vet.
A flea is a slightly smaller beast, which operates in a very similar way to the tick. Fleas must be removed as soon as they are identified, as they can lay eggs constantly while they are feeding. As your dog sheds its winter coat, these eggs will be strewn everywhere your dog has come into contact with. You can buy special flea powders and sprays in order to exterminate these nasty creatures, or, just as with ticks, you can take it to a vet in order to get it treated.
In either instance, getting a dog properly vaccinated will vastly increase its resistance to the threats posed by these parasites.
There are a variety of springtime stimuli which can provoke an allergic reaction and these reactions can bring about a variety of symptoms. The causes include exposure to pollen and plants, as well as insect stings.
An allergic reaction can cause a dog’s skin to become inflamed and uncomfortable; the most obvious symptom of this will be an increased level of scratching. Other symptoms might include difficulty in breathing and runny eyes.
The consequences of an allergic reaction can be serious and an afflicted dog should be examined by a professional as soon as possible. If your dog seems uncomfortable and is unable to resist scratching itself, then you should take it immediately to the vet.
The heat can come as quite a shock, particularly if your dog is still wearing a jacket! Fortunately, the British springtime is mild (to put it mildly) and so the danger posed by heat is usually trivial until well into April. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a few precautions. If you intend to take your dog for a walk.
It’s worth re-enforcing the importance of an age-old piece of advice surrounding dogs: namely, the danger of leaving them in a hot car. Suffice to say, you should never leave your dog unattended in a hot car. Dogs placed in such situations can die within just fifteen minutes.