11th May 2019
As we welcome spring, we also see the arrival of beautiful springtime flowers. While these plants may look pretty, they can actually be very dangerous if consumed by our dogs. Flowers such as tulips, daffodils, buttercups, bluebells and foxgloves are very toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy if ingested. If you’re planting new flowers in your garden, check the plants are dog-safe and – if you have bouquets in your house – make sure they’re kept out of reach (including petals that may fall). When walking your pooch, be vigilant for any nearby flowers and make sure he doesn’t have a bite. Our cheeky pals tend to have a knack for nibbling anything in sight, so be careful!
With the cold and rainy weather we’ve had, it’s likely that your dog hasn’t been as active as he would have been in the warmer months. His fitness could be lacking, so try not to push him too hard now that the sun’s made a return, as it could cause an injury. Instead, gradually introduce him to more and more exercise to re-build his strength and stamina safely.
Just like us, dogs are prone to allergies. And with spring’s pesky pollen, doggy hay fever is especially common, affecting around 10% of dogs. Keep an an eye out for any symptoms like sneezes, scratching, rashes or runny eyes, especially if your pup’s breed is particularly prone (Dalmatians, terriers, Irish setters, poodles and schnauzers tend to be more susceptible). If you do notice that your pup has the sniffles, try not to worry too much as allergies can often easily treated with antihistamine prescribed by your vet.
For more tips on how to handle allergies, read our previous blog post here.
When there’s a bee or a wasp flying around, dogs love to play chase. It doesn’t take long before there’s a nasty sting and a pup who’s very confused as to why a new friend would hurt him so much. When this happens, there a few things you can do to ease the pain. For a bee sting, check and remove the sting if it’s still in place, before bathing the area in bicarbonate of soda and water (one teaspoon of bicarb to 300ml of water). For a wasp sting, bathe the area with malt vinegar or lemon juice.
Spring is the time when slugs and snails come out of hibernation, which, unfortunately for gardeners, means that they’re on the hunt for plants to eat. If you plan to protect your plants by scattering pellets, make sure they’re free from metaldehyde, as this chemical can be fatal if consumed by dogs (and any other animal for that matter). If your dog does accidentally ingest a metaldehyde pellet, consult your vet immediately - even if it’s just a small portion. Symptoms of poisoning include incoordination, muscle spasms and tremors and seizures.
Thanks to the sunny weather, your pooch will be able to get more outdoor playtime, which, no doubt, will make him overjoyed. However, it’s important to take precautions in the hot weather, as too much sun can become dangerous. Make sure that your furry doesn’t overheat – always give him access to shade and plenty of water. Your pup can also get sun damage from too much exposure to UV rays, especially if he has a white coat or pale skin around the nose and eyes, so try to stay out of the sun where possible.
Although dogs are prone to ticks and fleas throughout all months, spring and summer sees a huge surge in parasites, so be sure to regularly check your dog’s skin and fur. Ticks are large enough to be visible and usually lie around a dog’s head and neck, causing irritation, redness and wart-looking bites. Don’t be tempted to pull a tick from your dog’s skin without the correct tool from your vet, as you risk leaving the mouthpart behind which can cause infection. Fleas, on the other hand, are too small to spot - but your dog’s persistent scratching will indicate whether he’s got them. If this happens, consult a vet to seek the best treatment.
Spring showers (or good old British torrential rain) mean that your pup will come into contact with more puddles on his daily walk. If he tries to drink from these, or any other stagnant sources of water, be sure to steer him away as the dirty water can cause tummy upset. In more server cases, it can cause health concerns like Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection that harms kidneys and liver).
Preying animals like foxes and hawks are also making a post-winter return. If your dog is small, always keep an eye on him when he’s playing outside, as wild animals can swoop in fast and unexpectedly, even in urban areas. Foxes tend to hunt at dusk and at night, so it’s best to let your dog out before it gets dark – particularly if you live in an area that’s heavily populated by foxes.
It’s easy to think that lakes and streams are great for dogs to cool off in. But be careful - although the temperature of the air has increased, the temperature of water tends to remain low for many months. Water that’s too cold can prevent dogs from swimming safely, as low temperatures can shock their systems. So, before you allow your dog to take a dip, ensure that the weather has been warm for a considerable amount of time.
Now that you’re aware of all the little obstacles that spring may throw, we hope you have a wonderful time enjoying the hot weather. Make sure your dog is always hydrated (check out our stylish stoneware bowls if your pup’s after a new watering hole) and ensure that he sticks to a healthy diet – we’ve got loads of yummy healthy treats like Peanut Butter and Jelly Biscuit Bites (to aid digestion) and Mature Cheddar Biscuit Bites (to help dogs’ joints). Happy Spring-ing!