Longer days, warm weather, and weekends spent frolicking with your furry friends all mean one thing–spring is here! As we emerge from our winter hibernation and prepare our yards, gardens, and home for the upcoming months, we don’t want to forget our pets. Increasing temperatures also mean the return of several health threats to our dogs and cats. Use this simple guideline to help make the blue skies and sunshine as fun and safe as possible.
1. Use heartworm and flea and tick preventive
Now. For everyone except those living in the coldest environments, your dog or cat should be receiving year-round monthly heartworm preventive. If you’ve been off heartworm preventive, be sure to have your pet tested prior to starting. As temperatures reach the 70s, biting insects like mosquitoes become very happy and prolific. In no time you’ll be swatting and reaching for the repellant. Now is also the time to make sure your pet is protected against fleas and ticks. If you wait until you see fleas and ticks to prevent them, it’s too late. You’ve got an infestation in your yard, house, or both. This year brings some new options for flea preventives so be sure to ask your vet about the latest advancements.
2. Avoid weekend-warrior syndrome
Each spring it inevitably happens: the first warm weekend appears and people think they need to make up for four months of inactivity. They take their out-of-shape, overweight selves with their out-of-shape, overweight dogs and decide to walk five miles, hike up their favorite mountain trail, or play an intense game of catch or Frisbee. Whatever it is, it’s too much and somebody gets hurt. This is the time of year when human ER clinics see injured knees, backs, and shoulders and veterinarians see torn cruciate ligaments, strains and sprains, and a variety of aches and pains. Take it easy. Gradually build up your strength and stamina and understand your dog needs time to adapt as well. This is especially true in older pets. What is only four to six months to you is more like two to three years to them. And if you do overdo it, be sure and have your pet checked out immediately. The sooner you have even a minor injury checked out and treated, the sooner your pet can return to enjoying the season.