10 pet care tips for spring

The change of season can bring a world of challenges to looking after your pet.

As the weather warms this spring, your pet will require extra love and care to keep him or her happy and healthy.

Spring presents all kinds of dangers for your pet, but it also opens up the door for plenty of fun activities.

From grooming to exercise, here are some tips for looking after your best friend this spring.

1. Keep your pet cool

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As the weather starts to warm up in spring you should be taking steps to ensure your pet is cool and comfortable. Some breeds of dogs can be prone to overheating easily, especially those with short noses such as bulldogs, french bulldogs and shih tzus. To avoid your dog overheating, you should make sure he or she has plenty of shade and a cool place to lay down. In the heat of the day your pets prefer to stay home and keep cool, so avoid exercising them or taking them out in the heat. Keep your outdoor play time and exercise with your pet for the coolest parts of the day, such as the morning or later in the afternoon. If you’re taking your pet out in the heat of the day, keep them out of direct sunlight and remember that the pads of their paws can be burned by walking on hot surfaces. Never leave your pet in a hot car either! Dehydration can also take it’s toll on your pet. Make sure he or she has plenty of fresh, clean water easily accessible.

2. Groom your pet (or have someone do it for you)

If you’ve got a furry little friend, then spring is the perfect time to have him groomed. During winter chances are you let your dogs coat grow to keep him or her warm. But in spring if that coat has become matted, knotted or overgrown, your pet can become sweaty or develop painful and itchy hot spots. The best tip is to either take your dog to a pet groomer and have it clipped or if you want your dog to have a longer coat, keep up with regular brushing to get all the dead hair out before it knots up. Thick double coated dogs such as a Siberian husky or Alaskan malamute should never be shaved. The layers of your pet’s coat can actually help them cool down and protect them from overheating and sunburn.

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3. Watch out for snakes

As the weather warms, one of the biggest dangers to your pet becomes more active. Snakes start to slither out of their winter hibernation in spring, and this can mean it’s more dangerous for your pet to be outdoors. Snakes such a tiger snakes and brown snakes can be particularly lethal for your pet. Symptoms of a snake bite can include dilated pupils, frothing at the mouth, tremors, blood in urine, sudden collapse and sudden death. You should immediately take your dog to nearest vet if you suspect it’s been bitten by a snake. Keeping your yard tidy and mown short will reduce the risk of a snake bite, and while you’re out and about with your pet you should avoid long grass.

4. Check your pet for ticks

Ticks are another potential killer for your pet that become more active in the warmer months. Paralysis ticks can attach themselves to any part of your pet, but are particularly common around the head, neck and ears. If your have a long-haired dog, you should run your fingers through the dog’s coat and check for any ticks. You should always assume there is more than one tick when searching. If you do find a tick on your dog and remove it, you should never assume your pet will be okay. The tick may have already left poison in the system before you removed it. You should always take your pet to the vet if you find an engorged tick or suspect your pet may have a tick. Symptoms include weakness or wobbling in the back legs, excessive panting and vomiting, frothing at the mouth and in the worst cases paralysis, breathing difficulties, blue gums and eventually sudden death. Luckily, there are a range of tick preventatives on the market including tick collars, Advantix and Frontline that can protect your pet from ticks.

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5. Get rid of the fleas

Fleas are far more common in spring than in winter. To check your dog has fleas, looking on their stomach, lower back or the base of their tail. Signs your dog may have fleas includes excessive scratching, biting or liking themselves, fleas moving through pet’s coat and flea dirt – little black pepper-like grits in amongst their fur. There are a range of flea treatments out there including tablets such as Comfortis, flea shampoos and rinses, flea collars and liquids such as Frontline and Advantage.

6. Have your pet wormed

The beginning of a new season it the best time to make sure your pet has been wormed. Roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and whipworms are all more prevalent during warmer months. Your pet should be wormed every three months with an all-wormer medication such as a Drontal tablet. Some liquid flea controls and tablets also control worms.

7. Give your pet some exercise

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If your exercise regime slowed during winter, it’s likely your pet’s has too. Spring is the perfect time of year to spend more time outside your dog whether that be play time in the yard or park or a walk or jog. Take your pet’s exercise slow, gradually increasing it to a level he or she is comfortable with. If you increase the exercise to quickly your pet could injure ligaments or tendons. Remember to exercise your pet during the cooler parts of the day as the weather warms up.

8. Keep an eye on seasonal allergies

Suffering from hayfever or allergies in spring? Your pet can too! Some dogs can suffer from sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes or break out in skin irritations such as rashes on their feet and the hairless areas of their belly. If your pet has any irritation or redness, or is scratching more than usual, you should take him to the vet for a check up.

9. Make sure your pet’s ID is up to date

Spring can bring more risks for your dog getting lost or escaping. From wandering away while at the park or on the beach, to getting a fright during a storm, your pet could go missing. That’s why it’s particularly important to keep your pet’s identification up to date, including making sure they are microchipped and fitted with a collar that has the correct tags.

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10. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date

As you take your dog out and about it can become exposed to a range of diseases such as parvovirus, distemper and kennel cough. Parvovirus is particularly lethal to dogs and is highly contagious. You should make sure your dog is vaccinated as a puppy. Adult dogs should be vaccinated annually to protect them from transferring or catching any diseases.

What extra steps do you take to keep your pet happy and healthy in spring?