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For us humans, springtime is a joyous time of the year. Hopefully, the cold weather is behind us, and we look forward to all the fun things we can do. But this time of year can also bring dangers for our pets. Here are one or two spring dangers to look out for when you have pets—especially dogs.
Easter is just around the corner (or just gone depending on when you read this). This also means that the house is full of chocolate. I am sure you are aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. With chocolate, it also depends on the amount of cocoa solids. If it is good chocolate like Greens and Blacks (yummy – other brands available), this could mean serious illness, which almost certainly means a vet’s bill for you too!
Some of the symptoms caused by chocolate are restlessness, drooling and difficulty standing or walking. But this can result in convulsions and cause death. As you can see, it is vital that your dog does not eat chocolate. I know it’s fun to give Easter Eggs, especially when you have kids, but please make sure they are supervised, so they don’t slip the dog some as a treat. It is also important that Easter eggs are stored high up or in a cupboard out of reach of your dog.
What happens if my dog gets hold of chocolate? If this is the case, the best advice is to call your vet immediately, who can help you. Your dog will likely have to stay overnight for further tests and treatment.
Try a dog-friendly Easter Hunt instead.
Hot Cross Buns and dogs
From around February until just after Easter, Hot cross buns appear in most supermarkets. The delicious buns are deadly for dogs as they contain, amongst other ingredients, raisins. Raisins can cause kidney failure, and all the experts agree that the is no safe amount. If your dog has eaten raisins, then seek veterinary help straight away.
Spring Cleaning and the Dangers for Pets
Spring is the time of year for some serious sprucing up, but be aware of how harmful some household cleaning products can be dangerous for pets.
Dogs may be tempted to drink from a bucket full of dirty water which contains bleach or cleaning fluid. If you use carpet shampoo or deodorising powder, this can be accidentally ingested by pets grooming themselves.
Toilet bowls are great for drinking out of and often contain bleach-based products, so always keep the lid down.
Spring Dangers for Pets In the Garden
Grass and plants start growing in spring, and this is when the lawnmower and pruning tools come out. Be aware of curious dogs tempted to chew on power cables and small pets getting in the way of sharp blades.
Certain spring-flowering plants can be harmful to pets if eaten. For instance, rhododendrons, Yew, Lily-of-the-Valley and some bulbs, like daffodil bulbs, are poisonous. Check and research your plants if you’re not sure.
The RSPCA have an excellent article on dog-friendly gardens.
It is also worth remembering that just like humans, some dogs have a pollen allergy
Pesticides and dangerous garden chemicals
When weeds start growing, this is when we’re most likely to use herbicides and insecticides to combat unwanted pests. Keep all these dangerous garden chemicals locked securely away, and when you apply them to the garden, keep your pet out of the area for several hours.
This is a common spring danger for pets as many gardeners start using fertilisers in the garden, ready for that bumper crop of vegetables or those lovely roses.
Whilst many fertilisers aren’t fatal, they will cause the dog to be ill if swallowed.
However, the ingredients below should be avoided as they can be fatal to your dog.
Bone meal is an organic fertiliser and is made up of dried blood as it contains nitrogen (12%)
Should your dog get hold of bone meal and consume it, it can cause vomiting (of some other poor animal’s blood) and diarrhoea. BUT WAIT for it. Bone Meal can result in pancreatitis. It may also be fortified with iron, leading to iron toxicity.
As this is usually dug into the soil, it is important to teach your dog not to dig the garden; This will reduce the risk of eating it.
Iron is added to most fertilisers and should be avoided.
Another spring danger for pets is wild garlic. Wild garlic is part of the onion family and can lead to issues if your dog gets hold of any.
Wasp & Bee Stings
One of the other dangers of spring is Wasps and bees. These can create a fun game for your dog as he jumps around and tries to catch them both in the air and when they last on a flower.
Nearly every dog I have met or owned has loved chasing flying objects and trying to catch them. This also includes flies, insects, bees and wasps. Unfortunately, if they catch a wasp, it can sting them in the mouth or throat, and as you can imagine, this can be quite dangerous and can cause swelling, and the airways, making it hard for them to breathe.
Try and teach him from an early age not to chase insects. However, if your dog has been stung, telephone your vet immediately for advice. If the sting is on the skin, like you would with humans, try to gently scrape it away with your nail rather than tweezers, which could burst the poison sack and worsen it. As you would with a human if they got stung, you can treat the sting with Bicarbonate of soda if it is a bee sting to help neutralise it or vinegar on a wasp sting, BUT only do this if you are sure which insect was the offender otherwise; you will make the dog feel worse.
BBQ and dogs
As the weather warms up, people start to dust off the BBQ and get out into the garden (and the odd April shower doesn’t stop them). BBQs bring dangers such as chicken bones, Alcohol, and meat skewers. Our ultimate guide to safe BBQs is worth reading.
With lighter nights and warmer temperatures comes the urge to take long walks with our dogs, but your pooch may be out of shape if your winter walks have been short and sweet. Take it easy at first to rebuild fitness slowly.