10 Springtime Dangers for Pets

Spring is in the air and it's that time again to take a long awaited break and smell the roses!? However, a lot of spring dangers are out there for our pets.

Below is a list of hazards they may encounter while enjoying the delightful and energizing days outdoors.

Here are the top 10 hazards for pets during the spring season:

1. Meet-and-Greets

Spring is in the air, and everyone is sniffing each other’s derrieres. Your pets have to meet their neighbors all over again. They forgot that Buffy the Maine Coon Slayer lived next door or that Mack the Ripper moved into the Bichon’s house.

Cat fight abscesses begin to appear. Dog walks and dog park encounters escalate to trench warfare.
If spring is for lovers, where did the love go?

2. Spring Food Festivals

Your pets eat more junk in the spring. They eat new grass. They eat any excrement or fun thing growing or moving outside. While people are in spring love, our pets are in spring buffet.

3. Fleas and Ticks
Getting your pets protected against fleas and ticks is so important if you live in flea and tick country. Just do it to prevent health and skin worries.

Veterinary tip:
There are many flea and tick meds on the market, and they are not all equal. Ask your vet before believing false advertising claims or online pharmacies. It’s more profitable for the manufacturers to lie to you, and they don’t care if you buy the right product for your needs.

BREAKING NEWS: Health Warnings About Popular Flea Products From the EPA

4. Toxic Lawn Treatments
Read Here: The Dangers Of Coming in Contact This Weed Killer (and pet killer)
Don’t use unsafe garden products on your own lawn, and beware of your neighbor’s toxic chemistry projects too. It’s amazing what toxins people will use just to keep a lawn looking like an iridescent green carpet free of weeds. Equal rights and health care for dandelions!

5. Toxic Plants and Shrubs

Many ornamentals, if eaten, may cause GI upset, but certain beautiful flowers, shrubs, wild flowers and mushrooms can be extremely dangerous.

Most dogs and cats live around toxic plants and shrubs and don’t eat them. If you have a puppy, however, or a dog or cat who is notorious for eating anything he finds, be vigilant during blooming seasons. Watch out for even the very common spring bloomers such as azalea, rhododendrons and lily-of-the-valley, to name a few.

For an extensive list of poisonous plants, see the ASPCA’s lists for dogs and cats.

6. Allergies

Although humans tend to sniffle and sneeze, allergic pets begin to itch from allergens in the air. Check with your vet as soon as your pet begins the spring itch. Earlier intervention not only gives early relief, but also can lessen the severity of the itching season.

7. Parvo and Other Contagious Diseases
Warmer weather and closer contact among animals encourage diseases to spread. This can be serious, such as a parvo outbreak in dogs, for example, or a mild but annoying problem, such as upper respiratory viruses in cats.

Make sure your pets are up to date on the most important vaccines, and be particularly aware of a boarding facility’s reputation and get necessary inoculations before kenneling your pets.

8. Bugs

Certain insects also have their “meet-and-greets” in the spring.

In the Northeast, black fly season is almost upon us. Bites from black flies, for instance, are usually more of an annoyance than a real danger, but many folks worry if they see bunches of red spots on their dog’s abdomen and can’t identify them. These spots are usually not itchy unless your dog has a particular allergy, and they usually fade in a few days.

Be aware of the common pests in your area, and use the same sense you would for your pets as yourself. For the ever-present threat of an allergic reaction to a bee, wasp, hornet or spider bite, keep Benadryl.

9. Intestinal Parasites

Although always a threat, intestinal parasites are more prevalent in warmer weather and climates. Parasites in feces enter the soil and can be picked up more easily by another pet in the spring. Heartworm preventives and flea and tick products often prevent against intestinal parasites.

Check with your vet to see if your dog or cat is already protected or needs additional stool checks or de-wormers.

10. I Think That’s Enough Already!

Stop the worrying and have a mint julep on the porch or a lemonade on the deck.

Springtime is a temptress to get your pets into trouble in the burgeoning world of natural wonder. As you sit by the blooming dogwoods and pussywillow, make sure the dogs are not loose in the woods and the pussycats are not stuck up in the willows.

Keep your pets safe as they soak up the splendor of this season with you.

Text by Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD

About: Dr. Debora Lichtenberg is a small animal and exotics veterinarian who splits her time between her busy veterinary practice in Pelham, Mass., and her minuscule studio in the West Village, NYC.

If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact the POISON HOTLINE immediately.