Springtime advice for dogs and cats

After a long, wet and windy winter, spring is finally here! With lighter days and warmer weather, our pets become more active. However, this can bring some health worries. OSCAR Helpline is here with some general springtime advice to keep your pets happy, healthy and safe.

Bounty the Labrador

Outdoor Care

Your dog or cat may prefer to spend more time lounging in the garden during the warmer months! Now is a good time to make sure your garden is still 'pet safe', especially after winter weather we have experienced here in the UK. Check fence panels, gates, and walls to make sure there are no gaps … you'd be amazed how small a gap a determined dog can squeeze through!

Make sure your dog or cat has access to water and shade in the garden. This is especially important if your cat is an outdoor cat or your dog is kennelled outside when you are out.

Garden Plants

Some species of plants and flowers are poisonous to cats and dogs. Some common examples of these, at this time of year, include daffodils, spring bulbs, tulips and aconite. If you have these species of flowers in your garden, placing a mesh fence around them will help to keep your dog or cat away. If your dog or cat tries to eat these plants, ensure they are not left alone in the garden.

If your pet might have chewed or ingested a plant which is known to be poisonous, contact your veterinary practice for advice. Symptoms you may see are excessive salivating, sickness, diarrhoea and lack of coordination.

Springtime Allergies

The OSCAR Helpline receives a much higher number of skin related enquiries during the spring and summer months. Just like humans, dogs can develop allergies to pollen, grass and plants. Commonly, owners report that dogs begin to itch or start to develop red rashes, sometimes resulting in bald patches.

If you suspect your pet is developing a skin problem, we recommend you take them to the vet for a health check. Feeding a gluten free diet will not stop summertime allergies, but it will help to support the health of your pet's skin and coat. Feeding a diet which contains optimising levels of biotin, zinc and omega-3 will also help to maintain a healthy skin and coat.

Regular Flea and Worming

Your pet needs regular flea and worming treatment throughout the year to keep parasites at bay, but during warmer months you may see more problems. As the days lengthen and temperatures rise, pets tend to spend more time outside and this increases their exposure to roundworm larvae and their chances of ingesting infected prey animals. Treating your pet with a flea treatment is an essential first step, but it is equally important to treat their bedding and resting areas (including carpet) in order to eliminate any further fleas and eggs that may be lying dormant.

Easter Time

It's not long until we get to crack open our Easter Eggs, but please take care. If you are planning an Easter egg hunt, remember to put your dog on the lead to stop them from finding the eggs before you do! Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats because it contains theobromine. Theobromine affects cardiac function and causes seizures, tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, panting and extremely fast pulse. If you find your dog or cat has eaten some chocolate, contact your veterinary practice for medical care. Sweets can also cause your pet to have a digestive upset and should be kept well out of reach of your pet's paws because the sweet smell of them can be hard to resist! Some sweets contain Xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener, commonly found in sugar-free human foods, and has recently been found to be toxic to dogs. By all means indulge your pet with their own special Easter present, such as a tasty treat or a new toy, but remember to keep sweets, chocolates and Easter eggs out of their reach.

If you would like any further advice on Springtime and pets, please contact Shelley on the OSCAR Helpline freephone number 0800 195 800 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk.

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