It’s been a long winter; it seems we have been bundled up in big coats forever! As the nights start to draw out, many of us are looking forward to enjoying some spring gardening and getting out and about for some long awaited country walks. Dogs and cats are pretty good at avoiding hazards most of the time. However puppies and kittens are especially inquisitive and sometimes this can get them into trouble! So we’ve put together some handy tips on keeping your pets safe during spring.
Bulbs of all sorts
We all love to see daffodils poking through the grass at this time of year. However many spring flowers are actually toxic to dogs. Especially the bulbs of daffodils, bluebells and hyacinths can cause severe but non-fatal illness if eaten in any quantity. The reality is that most dogs once grown up, will not bother, but do beware if you have a particularly curious pup who loves to dig!
Rhododendrons look beautiful but are also poisonous to dogs. In fact many garden species if eaten, could give your puppy or kitten an upset tummy but rarely is plant ingestion fatal. One exception to this is lily species in cats. Most of the lilies in the garden do not flower until the summer but the day lily (Hemerocallis) blooms in late spring, so be aware if you have these in your garden. If any part of this plant is eaten it can cause fatal kidney failure and you should seek veterinary advice immediately.
Most weed killers are safe for pets once they have dried. Do be aware though of any directions on the product you are using regarding safety. If you are treating your lawns or having a commercial company do it for you, always keep your pets inside for the allotted time. If you have cats that roam free, ask your neighbours to let you know if they are likely to be using weed killer.
Slug bait and rodenticides
Slug bait and poisons that are put down to kill rats and mice are really bad news for dogs and cats. Spring is often the time when gardeners are likely to start to protect their plants and crops. It is also the time when cats and dogs are out and about more. If you think your pet may have ingested any strange substance, then contact your vets straight away.
Walkies in the countryside
It is such a joy to take your dog out for a walk in the spring sunshine. Here are a few reminders of do’s and don’ts to keep them safe.
- Keep your dog under control at all times around livestock. Especially sheep who are pregnant or have lambs with them in the spring. Farmers have every right to shoot your dog if it found worrying sheep.
- Look out for adders if in suitable moorland habitats. They often come out to get the first warm rays of sun on them. Adder bites can be fatal to both dogs and humans - if your pet get's bitten by an adder, seek veterinary advice immediately.
- Remember to treat your dog with a regular flea and tick product. Monthly flea treatment is included in your Healthy Pet Club membership, so don’t forget to pick it up. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, a serious bacterial condition that can affect people as well. Ticks get onto your dog by crawling up the long grass and attaching to the coat and then burrowing into the skin.
- Forget about Alabama rot. This disease is deadly and we still don’t know what causes it. It does seem to be most prevalent in the months December – end of March, and in certain areas in the UK. So keep vigilant. If you go for a muddy walk, always wash your dog’s legs and nose when you get home. The tell-tale signs are wounds especially on limbs which may just look like a sore or cut. Fatal kidney failure can develop in a few days, so if in doubt contact your vet.
- Throw sticks for your dog. Every year dogs throughout the country undergo surgery to their necks and throats because they got impaled on the stick their owner had thrown for them. Some of the injuries they sustain are horrific and can be life-threatening. In other cases splinters which cannot be found, cause chronic and debilitating infections within the body, over years.
- Use balls to throw that are too small. Small smooth balls can get stuck at the back of the mouth in the entrance to the airway and cause suffocation.
- Forget that female cats will start to come into season now the days are getting longer, so if you brought home a kitten over the winter months, make sure you get it neutered as soon as possible! Check out our blog on neutering here >
- Lastly but not least don’t forget to make sure your bunny is vaccinated. Wild rabbits start to hop about in the spring warmth and can transmit deadly Myxomatosis to unprotected pet rabbits via biting insects and fleas. Have a read of our blog about vaccinating your rabbit here >