Allergies, fertilizers, toxic snowmelt — spring brings a host of issues dog owners must deal with.
Spring paw care is essential. Roadside banks of icy snow have been repeatedly inundated with salt and other snow melting chemicals, and the puddles from these glaciers are toxic and harsh for the pads.
Remember to wash your dog’s feet with soap after every walk, and beware of thirsty dogs who want to lap up snowmelt water. As the sun warms the roads, dogs will again get thirsty on walks, so carry a water bottle and travel bowl to prevent sipping roadside sludge.
Many dogs shed in spring. Shedding is a natural transition, but the dry, winter coat can cause mats and tangles as it falls out, especially if your dog wears a coat or a sweater outside.
Warmer weather means we all feel friskier. It is normal for dogs to store fat in winter, but a heavier dog needs to begin spring exercise gently. Just as you may want to ease back into an outdoor exercise routine, your companion dog also needs to take it slowly at first. Increase walks and runs in the park steadily, but gradually.
Dogs get springtime allergies, too. As is the case for humans, dogs can become allergic over time, so do not be surprised if your dog’s reactions to springtime allergens change from puppy to adult. Pollen from the first flowering trees, dandelions and tulips, dust, mold, and even insects can cause allergic reactions.
Symptoms include itching, coughing, sneezing, flaky skin, or an oily feeling coat. Never use human allergy medicines for dogs on your own initiative. Canine allergy medicines are effective; your vet can prescribe the safest dose.
Spring bulb plants pushing out of the ground often attract dogs. It’s not that dogs just want to ruin the landscaping. Squirrels and rodents are also attracted to spring bulbs, and an inquisitive dog might be hot on the trail.
In the spring, your dog will be able finally to run on grass, not frozen snow or dead thatch. Please pay attention to where you let your dog run. Spring lawn care often combines herbicide and pesticide treatments to kill insect larva, ticks, fleas, “critters,” and seed-sprouting weeds.