Spring in Adelaide is a curious affair – sometimes we have days where the skies are clear and sun starts to feel a little bit warmer; other days we see nothing but rain. But whatever the weather, little changes are still occurring – the ground softens, grass and other new sprouts push their way up to see the sun, and the days slowly start to lengthen. Spring brings the promise of new energy and new life.
Your animals feel it too, and they’re keen to get outside more often to explore the new sights and smells. How ready are you and your home for Spring? Here’s a checklist for you to help keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy:
How Does Your Garden Grow?
- How lovely it is to see the flowers blooming in your garden again! Are you aware of which flowers are toxic to dogs? The Animal Emergency Centre provides a list of potentially toxic plants, some of which may be poking their pretty little heads up in your garden right now. Daffodil, lily of the valley, iris, and hibiscus all have toxic properties, just to name a few! Keep your dogs away from those flowers, or replant your beds with something non-toxic.
- Using fertiliser on your gardens and lawns does wonders for their growth, but it’s not so great for your dogs. We’ve had a number of cases where a dog has eaten freshly laid fertiliser because they were attracted to the “wonderful” aroma. Try to keep your pets away from your neighbour’s lawns as well in case they’ve also decided to do a little fertilising of their own. Where possible, opt for organic methods to fertilise your gardens.
- Be sure to choose a mulch that is safe for pets. Avoid anything made from cocoa hulls, and opt for something like untreated wood shavings. Also be on the lookout for mushrooms that often appear in Spring, especially on newly laid mulch and wet lawns. Some mushrooms are extremely toxic (and not just to animals so keep an eye on the children).
- Give your vacuum cleaner a break – brush your cat or dog twice a day to control shedding. Try brushing them outside (where able) to avoid excess hair in your home. Don’t worry if you don’t catch it all as it wafts away – many birds love to use the hair to line their nests.
- Spring cleaning is the perfect time to review your cleaning products’ pet-friendliness. If the bottles do not say they’re pet-safe, it’s best to keep these products out of reach or locked away in a cupboard. If your pet ingests a household cleaner, seek immediate veterinary attention.
- If you’re an allergy sufferer, you probably dread the arrival of Spring more than anything else. Some dogs suffer from pollen allergies too. If your dog is itching, give them a soothing bath with an oatmeal-based shampoo and ask your local veterinary clinic for advice.
Beware of Pests!
- As you take time to appreciate the emerging bird-song, don’t forget that other less melodious creatures are lurking both above and below too. Fleas, ticks, and other biting insects (spiders, flies, etc.) are all going to be more active with the warmer weather. It’s recommended to use a monthly flea and tick preventative such as Revolution or Nexgard. This will give you and your pets a fighting chance to beat a bug infestation. Also remember that, if using pesticides and herbicides, please keep your pets out of the yard for a safe period of time after application as these are extremely toxic.
- Get a head start on the peskiest of pests, the mosquito! Make sure your dog is on a monthly or yearly heartworm preventative. If your dog isn’t currently on any such preventative, speak to your vet about getting a blood test done to make sure they’re heartworm free. Remember to give your pets an intestinal worming tablet every 3 months as well.
- When using any sort of baits (rat, snail, roach etc.), place these products in areas inaccessible to your pets. Most baits contain ingredients that are as attractive to your pets as the pests you’re trying to kill – and they will kill your animals just as easily. If you can’t guarantee your pet won’t get access to them, avoid the use of baits at all.
Put Some “Spring” In Your Step
- Why not add an extra walk in to your daily routine? Your dog will think all its Christmas’ have come at once when they see you go for the leash a second or third time in one day! Springtime exercise will help shed some of that lazy Winter weight (from the dog, of course). Be sure check them all over when you get home for any invading grass seeds that may cause an abscess or infection.