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Top 10 spring dangers: Keeping your dog safe this spring

blue merle australian shepherd puppy sitting in field of flowers
© dezy - Shutterstock

The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer, and flowers are in bloom. Yes, spring is here! But at this time of year, there are many dangers pet parents should be aware of.

By Justine Seraphin

Published on the 30/03/2021, 17:00

While the return of warmer weather is definitely something to be excited about, there are many dangers brought along by springtime as well. 

As responsible pet owners, it’s our job to protect our pets from them. So check out these 10 springtime dangers and see how you can prevent them from affecting your pet's health.

Cleaning products

Spring is synonymous with the traditional spring cleaning. If you’re brave enough to give your home a deep clean, then just be careful with the cleaning products you use. Most aren’t pet-friendly and can be highly toxic to pets if ingested. Make sure you keep them well away from your pet’s reach.

Slug and snail pellets

Slugs and snails are most active during warm, humid spells, i.e. spring and summer. Many people will be putting metaldehyde-based pellets in their gardens to protect their plants from these ‘pests’. However, metaldehyde is extremely toxic to dogs and can be fatal if ingested. Keep a close eye on your pup during neighbourhood walks and certainly never use slug and snail pellets in your own yard.

Fleas and ticks 

These pesky critters start to make a comeback when the weather gets warmer, so flea and tick prevention is essential at this time of year. Don’t wait too long or it could be too late. There are many different types of preventative treatments, including special collars, topical sprays, and medication. Discuss the best option for your pet with your veterinarian.

Spring flowers

Though beautiful, many spring flowers are toxic for dogs. The most poisonous plants are daffodils, bluebells and ivy, but you should also watch out for lilies, crocuses, azaleas, and tulips. To be on the safe side, it’s best to keep potentially toxic plants well out of your dog’s reach, and read up on them before you decorate your home with them.

Human foods

Easter chocolates, grapes, raisins, and foods containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause anything from kidney failure, to seizures, and even death if ingested by your pet. If you can, avoid having these tasty treats in your home, or at least keep them safely out of reach from your pet. In case of a food related pet emergency, you can contact the Animal Poison Line for advice. 

Barbecues can also be fatal to your dog. Indeed, kebab sticks, if swallowed, can cause blockages and dangerous injuries in the throat and stomach. Be extra vigilant if you’re having one at your home.

Adder bites

Adders are the only venomous species of snake in the UK. In the spring, they are just coming out of hibernation and are quite sluggish, but will bite if provoked. They are commonly found on sandy hills and dunes, rocky hillsides, moorland and woodland. Be particularly vigilant when walking your dog in these areas and take your dog to the vets if you think they might have been bitten.

Insect bites

If your dog likes to play with small flying bugs, then you’ll have to be especially careful with bees and wasps at this time of year. A sting is unlikely to kill your dog, but can be dangerous if inside the mouth or throat.

Allergies

Just like us, dogs can be allergic to plants, pollens, and grasses, so if you notice your dog itching a lot or starting to get runny eyes, seek veterinary advice. 

If you suffer from allergies yourself, make sure you keep your antihistamines well away from your dog. This type of medication is highly toxic to pets.

Dog walk squabbles

With the nice weather, more pet parents are getting out and about to walk their dogs. Unfortunately, not everyone’s dog is trained properly, and not every dog owner knows about proper doggy etiquette. Be particularly vigilant with your dog when you go out for walks and make sure you practice the recall and heel command regularly. If you have a reactive dog, try to avoid the busiest times of the day for walkies.

Thefts

Dog thefts have become increasingly common since the demand for dogs has risen in the past few months. While it can be tempting to let your dog explore the garden by themselves when it’s nice and sunny out, this is not recommended. Over half of dog thefts occur in back gardens. Don’t leave your pet unsupervised, and instead, why not go enjoy the nice weather outside along with them?

With these pet safety tips in mind, you’re well on your way to having a very enjoyable spring! So bring on the sunshine!