Spring has well and truly arrived, and as the weather begins to warm up and the flowers begin to bloom, you might be thinking about increasing the amount of time you spend outside with your dog. However, this can be a source of stress, as there are a series of risks associated with spring that you might be worried about.
Every season of the year carries with it a different set of risks for dogs. While the outside world is far from a major hazard, and your dog will likely be fine, there are a few things it is worth watching out for to ensure your pet stays at the peak of physical health.
The first is to watch out for what your dog is eating while outside. Spring usually brings with it a wide variety of flowering plants, that are as enticing for you to look at as they are for your dog to eat. This is normal dog behaviour, but it is one that might be worth discouraging due to the health risks.
The main danger for dogs when it comes to eating plants are bulbs. Perennial plants such as daffodils commonly flower in spring, advertising their presence to curious and hungry dogs. However, they can be very poisonous to canines, to the point of being fatal if they eat too much.
Daffodils are just one example of plants that harm dogs. Tulips and lilies are other common examples that are often bloom around this time. The bulbs are the most hazardous, so stop your dog if they start digging around flowers.
Foxglove is also poisonous to both dogs and humans. In this case it is the flowers that cause the issue, so keep an eye out for the distinctive plant in case your pet snatches a quick bite to eat as you pass. Foxglove can cause serious heart issues if too much is eaten.
A typical indication that your dog has eaten something poisonous is vomiting, often combined with tissue damage to the mouth and throat, and sometimes diarrhea. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
So how do you stop your dog if they seem intent on eating things they shouldn't while out on a walk? The obvious answer is to feed them before you go for a walk. A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet such as the BARF diet will keep your dog fuller for longer, ensuring they are not tempted by potentially poisonous plants while they are outside.
Another danger for dogs is that of allergies. These are common in the springtime for both dogs and humans due to the high proportion of pollen, cut grass and insects. This is something you should bear in mind when taking your dog out for a walk.
Allergies will affect your dog in much the same way as they will affect you. You will see sneezing, coughing and reddened, runny eyes. Try and pinpoint what is causing it; perhaps your dog only exhibits these problems when near certain plants or areas. That way, you can make a conscious effort to avoid whatever is causing the issues on future walks.
You can make sure your dog's meals are not contributing to their allergies by choosing a brand like James Wellbeloved dog food. This is hypoallergenic, so it should cut down on the chances of your dog having an allergic reaction, and make their body more able to deal with external allergens.
Fleas and ticks will also be a concern for your dog in spring, particularly if you often take them to areas with long grass or with a lot of wildlife. It is never too early to start preparation for this, as these nasty biting bugs can appear as soon as the sun starts shining and make life an itchy misery for your pet.
Overall, you must be careful in the spring to make sure your dog does not end up suffering from allergies, or eating something they shouldn't. However, you should definitely make the most of the nice weather and the spring plants; your dog with enjoy them as much as you do, and they will make your walks even more enjoyable.
Written by: Hannah