Spring is just around the corner! Depending on where you live, the days are finally getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and soon you’ll be able to spend countless hours outside with your pup without having to worry about winter hazards.
Prepare your furry friend for the upcoming spring season and help them stay happy and healthy with this handy checklist from your friends at PuppyViewer.
Beware of Ticks!
Although we tend to associate the warmer weather with tick season, the reality is that every season is tick season. March is the Canadian Veterinary Association’s National Tick Awareness month – the perfect time brush up on your tick safety.
Just like in humans, tick bites can cause Lyme disease and other illness in dogs. Be aware of your dog’s behaviour and make note of sudden onset of lethargy and symptoms such as mild joint swelling or a low-grade fever. Because these symptoms don’t often appear for two to five months after a tick bite, it’s important to check your dog regularly, but especially after spending time outdoors.
To check your dog for ticks, feel their legs right down to their feet, search underneath collars, and inspect paw pads, ears, and more. Research shows that Lyme disease transmission typically takes 36 to 48 hours, so early intervention is crucial.
The best way to remove a tick requires tweezers with a fine point to avoid tearing the tick and spreading infection to the affected bite area. Grasp the tick as closely to your dog’s skin as possible and pull up gently but firmly until the tick releases its hold. It’s important to wash your hands thoroughly and clean the bite site after a tick is removed.
Contact your veterinary professional if you have concerns about ticks in your area or if you want more information to protect your pup.
Protect Against Heartworm
Heartworm is a serious disease that occurs primarily in dogs that is caused by a parasite that lives most commonly in the right side of the heart and nearby blood vessels. Heartworm can cause reduced heart function, reduced lung capacity, and in severe instances, death.
Risks for heartworm can be decreased (but not eliminated) by avoiding time spent outdoors in the evening and early morning when mosquito activity is at its highest. Prevention is possible with oral and topical medication – talk to your vet about possible treatment.
Spend a Day at the Spa
There’s no time like spring for a day at the spa! Treat your pup to a pamper-filled day at the groomer to get them in tiptop shape for the season ahead. They’ll be thrilled to have a freshly washed and clipped coat of fur, trimmed nails and checked ears.
Remember that teeth and fur should be brushed regularly at home for your dog’s optimal health – not just during a trip to the groomer.
Be Prepared for Any Adventure
If you’re planning to spend lots of time outdoors this spring, consider putting together a kit to keep on hand should you run into emergency situations on your adventures.
You can purchase handy pre-made first aid or emergency kits for dogs, or put one together yourself with items like:
- Rubber gloves
- Dog-friendly disinfectant
- A collapsible bowl
- An extra leash
- Paw protectors
Stash your kit in your car or in a backpack to keep on hand no matter where your travels take you and your furry friend this spring.