Our furry friends are just as excited to get out and enjoy the spring weather as we are, but that being said it is important to be aware of the laundry list of safety concerns for our dogs that accompany the onset of spring. As a North London dog walker, I love the Spring, and you can too, but do be aware of the precautions you should take when getting out and about.
Start out Slow
Just like us, dogs are substantially less active in the winter months than the summer, and although exercise is important it is equally important not to overdo it. You or the dog you are responsible for walking will no doubt be anxious to run around and play in the warmer weather but just like humans too much physical activity after long periods of minimal activity can be hard on their heart and muscles.
Start out with a short slow to medium paced walk and then work your way up to longer distances at a faster more vigorous pace.
Allergens, Toxins and Chemicals
Dogs are just as prone to seasonal allergies as we are, and just like humans allergies in dogs can develop randomly from season to season. If you notice that your dog has developed a cough or sneeze or if he/she seems to be itching more than usual then it is very possible that your pet is reacting to allergens.
Flaky skin and oily coats are also commons sign of allergic reaction in dogs. There are plenty of canine allergy medications that are very effective so consult your vet if you’re wondering about what treatment to give. NEVER give a dog human allergy medication.
With springtime comes lawn care, and unfortunately most lawn care treatments like herbicides and pesticides are extremely toxic to dogs, (in particular pesticides that contain organophosphates (most do)). Be mindful of herbicide and pesticide signs on the lawns of the homes that are on your walking route.
Discouraging your dog from nosing in other peoples garden (or your own) is a very responsible habit to get into, but aside from common courtesy this is also a safety precaution. Most spring bulbs for example are a part of the allium family (onions are also part of the allium family) and allium is highly toxic to dogs. Be aware of chemical treated mulches as well.
If you live in an area where it snows then your city more than likely uses salt mixed with various ice melting chemicals, and this chemical laced snow is pushed to the side of the road as the roads become better used. When spring melting occurs these toxins are festering in the puddles. Petrol and oil leaks from automobiles can also be present, avoid allowing your dog to drink from puddles and make sure to wash the dogs paws well after every walk to avoid contact of chemicals to their mouths as well as potential skin conditions from toxic exposure.
Following these simple common sense practices will ensure that your walk with your four-legged friend will be a safe and enjoyable experience for both of you. Enjoy the springtime!