Spring Protection for Cats and Dogs

| 17 Feb 2015 | 01:03


The warm weather means it's time to check up on your pets' well being and safety

As we say goodbye to the chills and snow and hello to the sun, be aware of seasonal hazards that can threaten your pets. Experts at North Shore Animal League America, the world's largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, urge pet owners to be mindful of their pet's safety.

"It's an animal owner's obligation to ensure its safety at all times, but spring especially presents a unique set of challenges with the weather change. With good preparation and knowledge, pets can be safe and comfortable over the season," advises Mark Verdino, Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff.

Animal League America offers these tips:

1. Springtime brings Easter fun but a lot of human celebrations can be toxic to our pets. Keep Easter lilies and candy bunnies away from your pets. Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs and lilies can be fatal if ingested. Cats and kittens love to nibble on plastic grass - this can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration.

2. Pet owners spending time outdoors with their pets should make certain they are protected with flea, tick and heart-worm treatments and are up-to-date on vaccinations.

3. Be sure to install sturdy screens in all windows, to avoid putting your pets at risk of jumping or falling through the window.

4. Dental hygiene is another effective "Spring Tune-Up" tool. Have your pet's teeth checked and cleaned by a vet.

5. We all know dogs love to feel the wind on their faces, but allowing them to ride in the bed of a pick-up truck or stick their heads out of a moving-car window is dangerous. This opens up your pet to inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections from flying debris and insects. Make sure your pets are always secure in a crate or wearing a pet seat belt harness while riding along with you.

6. Spring cleaning brings opportunities for harm to our pets. Be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pet's way. Products such as paints and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Be careful of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools.

7. Beware of many springtime plants that are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides might help our plants and lawns grow but can be fatal for your pet if ingested.

8. Pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions to dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Please check with your veterinarian to see if your pet has a springtime allergy.

9. Springtime means longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.

10. And most importantly, any time of the year, spay and neuter your pet so that your animals do not contribute to the large population of unwanted litters.

To learn more about keeping your pets safe and healthy at all times, visit www.AnimalLeague.org.