Spring has arrived in Berkshire and despite the extra snow this week, the weather is getting warmer (and hopefully staying that way). This is a great time of year and many people will be starting to spend more time outside, whether it be pottering around in the garden, walking around local parks or going out into the beautiful Berkshire countryside.
General Care of Your Pets
Many pets will be starting to shed their winter coats as the weather gets warmer. Help them along by giving them a brush to help get rid of their loose undercoat and prevent knots from forming.
Just like people, cats and dogs can develop allergies to plants, pollens, grasses, and other substances in springtime. Pets with allergies often have symptoms similar to those seen in humans such as itchy skin, reddened skin, ear problems runny eyes, hair loss and respiratory problems, so if you are seeing any of these signs it is a good idea to get your pet checked by a vet.
Take care not to leave caged pets such as birds and rodents directly in front of the windows. The sun can warm up cages very quickly, causing pets to overheat even at this time of year.
It is a good idea to ensure that flea and tick treatments are up to date and effective. Have a chat with one of our veterinary nurses to discuss which products are best for your pet.
Spring is a good time to be helping your pet loose any excess weight they may be carrying. If you are not sure whether your pet is the ideal weight or if you would like some advice about diet and weight loss for your pet, please contact the practice.
Unfortunately spring, as with all of the other seasons, can bring with it some problems for our pets.
Hazards In The Home
At this time of year many of us will be spring cleaning the house or doing those ‘fun’ DIY jobs that we have been putting off, such as putting up shelves, re decorating and hanging new pictures.
If you are planning to do a bit of spring cleaning around the home, make sure that you keep all of the cleaning liquids, sprays and cloths out of reach of curious pets. Be careful with dilution rates of floor cleaners as these can irritate delicate paws if they are too strong.
Similarly, if you plan to start a DIY project at home, make sure your pets are well out of the way first and that they don’t get the opportunity to play with or ingest any of the bits and pieces you will be using. Paints, solvents and glue are all highly toxic to pets and nails or bits of plastic can be easily swallowed.
Remember that younger pets are much more curious and likely to taste or chew things than older pets are.
Hazards In The Garden
Spring plants look lovely as they start to emerge, but remember that a lot of them can be toxic to our pets. Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths and Lilies can all cause problems, so keep an eye on your pet. With some plants it is just the bulbs that are toxic but with others it is the leaves, flowers or pollen that are toxic. If you notice you pet chewing flowers it is wise to prevent access.
Many fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides can also be poisonous to pets; Permethrin is a substance used in a lot of insecticides and is highly toxic to cats. Check that any fertilisers being used are pet safe ones.
Cocoa Shell Mulch is a potentially lethal hazard. Dogs are attracted to these shells by their smell, but they contain theobromine which is very poisonous to dogs. If you own a dog it is much safer to use an alternative such as tree bark.
Common Symptoms of Poisoning Include;
If you notice any of these symptoms contact your vet immediately.
Insect stings and bites usually happen only happen to over-curious pets. Pets are generally stung or bitten on the muzzle area (face) or the feet. Stings and bites normally only cause small localised swellings or irritation, but they can be serious in pets who are stung many times, have a bad allergic reaction or who are stung near the throat. Veterinary advice should be sought for any stings or bites your pet may get.
Out and About
If your dog has been fairly inactive in the winter months, before you start going for long countryside walks or take up jogging with your pet, it is best to gradually increase the amount of exercise you give him or her, to help rebuild muscle tone and fitness and avoid any exercise-related injuries.
Swimming can be great fun for dogs that enjoy it, but remember that the weather still isn’t very warm at them moment so make sure that you dry your dog off properly after a swim and that you only allow them to swim in safe places.
Dog owners should remember to keep dogs on leads when walking near farmland as there will be many young Lambs and calves about with protective parents. The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 makes it an offence for any dog to be at large (i.e. not on a lead or under close control) in a field of livestock or be chasing or attacking livestock. Farmers can legally shoot a dog that they feel is causing their herd or flock distress!
Many cats are natural hunters and there is little you can do to stop them doing what comes instinctively to them (collars with bells may work for some cats but mine is still able to catch birds with a very loud bell on his collar!). At this time of year there are lots of newborn rodents, birds and bunnies around, which can make easy prey for even the laziest hunter. If you have a cat that likes to hunt make sure his or her worming treatments are up to date.