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Spring is finally here to stay! This means you and your pet will be eager to get outside and start exploring in the sunshine. Before you start your explorations, you may want to read up on a few cautious tips so you and your pet can enjoy this weather to its fullest.

          The number one thing to remember with outdoor play is to be cautious of all the insects that will also be making their post-winter come back. Always check your furry friend for ticks after running around outside, even if it’s for a short amount of time. It only takes a few seconds for your pet to pick up ticks and only a few days to potentially catch a tick borne illnesses. Keep your pets, including indoor cats, up to date on flea and tick prevention as well as heartworm prevention to lessen your pets chances of getting ill if exposed to ticks. Curious cats and dogs can also be stung by bees if they stick their nose a little too close or if they try to eat them. Like humans, animal’s can react differently from just having a small bump to having an allergic reaction. Spider bites can also be irritating to your pets so be sure to monitor your pet to see if an allergic reaction is occuring.

          If you suspect your pet has developed any type of allergic reaction you must contact your veterinarian right away with a list of their symptoms. Monitor the time frame of these symptoms for your vet to determine if your pet needs to be seen right away or if you must further monitor symptoms. Some allergies can be treated over-the-counter while others may require close monitoring and fluids at your vet clinic.

          April showers bring May flowers, and (hopefully) lush green grass. Don’t be alarmed if your pet eats grass every now and then. For the most part, it is completely normal. Some dogs chew on grass for the water while others may just like the taste. However, if you start to notice that your dog is making a habit of eating grass in large quantities it is best to have your veterinarian examine your pet further. Eating large amounts of grass at one time can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency such as low fiber in their diet or it could be the cause of an upset stomach. Regardless, it is best to keep an eye on your dog because lawn-care products used can be unsafe if ingested and can cause more harm to your pet. Keep an eye on your pets while outside because you never know what they may be getting into while wondering around. There are plenty of beautiful flowers and plants popping up that can be toxic to animals if ingested. Spring bloomers such as Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Lily of the Valley are just a few examples of flowers that can be toxic to animals. If you suspect that your pet did ingest something foreign then call your veterinarian as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

          Just like humans, dogs and cats can experience seasonal allergies. Dust, mold, and pollen are among the most common triggers of seasonal allergies in pets. The symptoms can include everything from sneezing and coughing to excessive scratching, licking, and chewing. If you start noticing that your pet is scratching excessively and is biting more at certain areas on their body then they may have allergies. If left untreated some pets may lose their hair, develop hot spots, or scratch to the point of bleeding and scabbing.

          Pets with allergies may also have problems with their ears. The ear canals can become itchy and inflamed causing your pet to excessively scratch at their ears or shake their head, which can also cause hair loss around the ears. If an infection is present there may also be an odor and possibly even discharge from the ears. A couple common at home remedies you can do to help your furry friends include frequent baths to give immediate relief for your pet by washing away the allergens on the coat and skin. There are also special shampoos you can buy at your local pet store that are targeted for allergy or itch relief. You should try to keep the areas of your home where your pet spends most of their time as allergen free as possible. Vacuum, clean the floors, and clean your pets bedding frequently using simple, non-toxic cleaning agents instead of heavier household cleaners.

          Speaking of cleaning, spring also means it is time to clean the house! Pay attention to which cleaning products you are using. Some cleaning products are designed to be safe to use around pets (and children); however, there are a lot of cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals. Certain products, if exposed, can result in vomiting, excessive salivation, trouble breathing, and intense pain. While cleaning, keep windows open to keep the air flowing and, if possible, keep your animals secured outside or in a different area of the house until you have finished cleaning. If you notice your pet is suffering from exposure to a toxic cleaning product do not hesitate to call your veterinarian. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

          Spring is a great time to be active outside with your canine companions. Not to mention, animals love getting to enjoy the warm weather with you. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye on the environment and work alongside your veterinarian for preventative health issues. With these reminders you and your furry friends will be able to fully enjoy the changing of the season.