Springtime Pet-Care Tips

Spring Pet 6
Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising—spring is the perfect season to spend time with your pet. Check out these fun photos of BH&G readers' pets enjoying springtime, as well as some helpful tips about caring for your pet in the spring.

Bees and Butterflies

With the weather warming up, your pet will be eager to get outside and start exploring. However, be cautious of buzzing insects; curious cats and dogs can be stung by bees if they stick their nose a little too close.

If your cat or dog gets stung, your best bet is to call your veterinarian and describe your pet's symptoms. Like humans, animals' allergic reactions differ in severity, so as soon as you notice that your pet has been stung, act fast to avoid further complications.

(Photo from Debra B. via Pets We Love)

Grass Is Always Greener

April showers bring May flowers ... and they also bring lush, green grass. Don't be alarmed if your pet munches on grass now and again; for the most part, it's completely normal. For whatever reason, most dogs nibble on grass from time to time.

If your dog makes a habit of eating grass in large quantities, it's best to have your pet looked at. Eating grass can be a sign of an upset stomach, so if your dog has eaten something that isn't settling, it might turn to grass as a natural remedy. 

(Photo from Kristin G. via Pets We Love)

Bird's the Word

Spring is often signaled by the beautiful trills of returning songbirds—and with the birds come hatching eggs throughout the neighborhood and nearby parks. For these birds and their fledglings, cats pose a serious threat. If your cat is allowed outdoors, check out the next slide for tips on how to stop your cat from making a meal of local birds.

(Photo from Amy A. via Pets We Love)

Bird's the Word

Here are a few tips to keep your kitty from bringing Tweety bird to your doorstep.

  • Fasten a bell to your cat's collar. The noise will warn birds before it's too late.
  • Feed your cat. It sounds simple, but making sure your cat is well-fed can help reduce its hunting urges.
  • Corral your cat during feeding hours. The times that birds are most active—around sunset and sunrise, or after bad weather—are prime feeding times for your cat. Make sure your cat is inside during these times to avoid a feeding frenzy.
  • Elevate bird feeders. Avoid feeding birds on the ground. Place seed up in a feeder or on elevated ground. Even if Kitty is a climber, it will take more work for your cat and possibly give the birds enough time to see the imposing threat.

(Photo from Nancy L. via Pets We Love)

Sweets and Treats

If the Easter bunny brought tasty chocolate treats for your family, make sure to store them in a safe place. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Dark chocolate and baker's chocolate are the most toxic for your pet, while white chocolate and milk chocolate don't pose quite as much of a risk. However, no amount of chocolate is good for your animal. If your pet ingests chocolate, take it to your veterinarian immediately.

(Photo from Sarah B. via Pets We Love)

Flower Power

With gardening in full swing during the spring, pay special attention to poisonous plants that are accessible to your cat or dog. Popular outdoor plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs include rhododendron, sago palm, and azalea, to name a few. For a complete list of plants that are poisonous to your pet, go to ASPCA.org.

(Photo from Karla H. via Pets We Love)

Spring Cleaning

It's time to clean house! When using harsh cleaning chemicals around your home, keep your pets out of harm's way. Almost all cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to animals. If it's a nice day, open windows while cleaning to air out the chemicals, or secure your dog outside while you clean and allow the chemicals to air out before bringing your pet back inside.

(Photo from High Performance Flowers via Pets We Love)

Lawn-Care Essentials

Spring is a great time to get your lawn in tip-top shape. However, many of the chemicals used on your lawn and garden can be dangerous to your pet. Fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides are usually poisonous and not meant for consumption. Always read the labels and heed the recommended waiting period before allowing your pet back on the lawn.

(Photo from Richard A. via Pets We Love)

Preventive Measures

Once the ground thaws, the bugs begin to emerge. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on its medications, including flea and tick medication and heartworm preventative. These medications should be taken monthly to keep your pet safe from these pesky insects and parasites.

If your pet does get a tick, follow these steps to ensure quick and painless removal:

  1. Wearing gloves and using a pair of tweezers, grab the tick as close to your pet's skin as you can. Pull straight up in a swift movement, making sure not to grip too hard.
  2. Place the tick in a screw-top jar containing some rubbing alcohol. Screw on the lid.
  3. Disinfect the bite site on your pet. Wash your hands thoroughly, and disinfect all tools that came in contact with the tick.
  4. Monitor the bite site. If it is still inflamed after a week or so, bring your pet and the tick in to the veterinarian for examination.

(Photo from Katherine L. via Pets We Love)

License and Registration

Spring is a great time to be out and about with your pet. Taking long walks around your neighborhood, playing Frisbee in the backyard, and exploring nearby parks are fun ways to spend time with your pet. Just make sure your pet's collar is up-to-date with current ID tags that include your name, phone number, and address, just in case your pet wanders a bit too far. Also, it's best to have your dog or cat microchipped for easy detection if it is picked up by an animal shelter.

If your dog enjoys the dog park, proper registration and a permit for the park are often required, as well as an up-to-date license for the city that the dog park is in. Check with your local dog park for details.

(Photo from Megan L. via Pets We Love)

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