As we all know, spring is a fantastic time of year. Most of us love being outside and we do love to take our dogs along. It is important to remember the safety of our pets while enjoying the beautiful days outside.
If you plan on going for a car ride with your dog, think about making sure your pet is secure in the car. There are a variety of ways to do this. Besides crates and carriers, there are harnesses and vests that fasten to car seatbelts. There are also many size car seats available. The same type of securing is suggested if you are going on a boat ride. May I also recommend including a life jacket if boating is your mode of transportation?
In addition to properly securing your pets, it is a good idea to have current identification on them just in case you get separated. If your dog has not travelled much in the car or boat, a good suggestion is that you start out with small trips in the beginning to ensure that your pet reacts well. You can slowly increase the trip durations. Don’t forget to bring a leash to use when you reach your final destination. And, if you are planning on being away overnight or longer, make sure you have checked ahead to ensure your favorite friend is welcome. Also remember to pack a supply of food, bowls, a favorite toy and any medications your pet might be using.
Also be careful of open car windows. Try not to travel with your pet’s head sticking out of a window. This could be very hazardous and can also lead to eye injuries. If you do love to drive with the windows open, just make sure your pet is safe; there are also doggie goggles available!
Remember your dog will be meeting many new people while outdoors. A well behaved pet will be willing to make new friends. Try to ensure that any newcomers follow a safe plan to greet your dog. If they ask to greet your dog, make sure they initially approach you slowly. If you say yes, make sure they curl their hand into a closed fist with the back of their hand facing upward. They can then extend their hand slowly toward the dog. Your pet should sniff the hand and become familiar with the scent of the individual. The dog should then allow the person to pet it under the chin or chest. This procedure should make it enjoyable for you, your new friend, and your dog!
It probably is time for you to start spring cleaning around the home. Please be careful with any chemicals you are using. This includes lawn fertilizers, pesticides, paints, paint thinners and any other chemicals that help make your home look its best. Remember your pet is likely to explore and get into situations that are not always the healthiest. Why do these moments always seem to happen when our backs are turned? Just remember to think “safety” and many problems should be averted.
Spring is also the time of year with lots of goodies and chocolate around the home. The chocolate bunnies and candy eggs may look very inviting to a dog or puppy. Make sure your pet is not able to get into the sweets or even the artificial grass that line colorful baskets and holiday displays. These items can have serious consequences for pets that ingest them. Please be extremely careful with these items. Also be careful at holiday dinners with guests. Encourage them not to give your pets any food that you do not authorize. A trip to the veterinarian for a pet’s stomach problems should not be on your holiday “to do” list.
During the spring there are also many plants that are not safe for your pets. Please keep them away from azaleas, lilies, oleander, tulips, daffodils and rhododendrons as they can prove toxic. Also be careful with any plant bulbs you may have around. You would not want your pet to ingest one of these!
The last thing you should be aware of is that your pet might be allergic to the great outdoors. Some dogs may get itchy skin, get a rash, chew their tails, or may even lick their feet. In this case, you can consult a veterinarian to help with a remedy.
Here is a wish for you to have lots of fun outdoors this spring with your family and pets. Hopefully, this just served as a gentle reminder of the things you already knew. Sometimes we just need a little nudge to help us remember the things we should be doing.