Planting a garden, spring cleaning, fertilizing the lawn—with the arrival of spring, comes plenty of work. But pets also have health and safety needs this time of year that their owners should know about. Here are spring tips for pet owners:
- Fleas and ticks—They can be tiny, little more than a pinhead in some instances, but they grow and spread quickly once they find a host. Use preventative treatments to keep your pet’s coat, and your home, free of pests and the diseases they can carry.
- Lawn fertilizers are very toxic to pets. Store fertilizers in a place far from where your dog or cat—and children—can get at them. After applying them to your lawn, follow manufacturer instructions on how long you should wait before allowing your pet into the area. If you see a sign posted on a lawn that tells you to keep your pets off, abide by it.
- Pesticides and herbicides—It’s probably not surprising that these chemicals can be toxic to your pets, but, even when they’re not lethal, there are some long-term health concerns. Studies indicate the use of pesticides and herbicides may be tied to increased rates of specific forms of cancer in pets. If your pet is exposed, wash it with soap and water immediately and call your veterinarian.
- Cocoa bean mulch—It is becoming more common to mulch garden areas with the fragrant spent shells of cocoa beans. But just like chocolate, dogs like to eat them and they are toxic.
- Lilies are a flower common in the spring, and they are very, very toxic to cats. Cats will often chew them, and even small amounts can lead to kidney failure and death.
- Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and can cause kidney failure. For a more complete list of plants that can be dangerous to pets, visit ASPCA National Animal Poison Control website at aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/.
- Rat and mouse poisons—Controlling vermin becomes an issue again in the spring. Be aware that the same properties of common rat and mouse poisons that make them irresistible to pests will also attract your pet. If consumed, these can be fatal to your animal.
- Cleaning products—Spring cleaning is an annual tradition in many households, but make sure the cleaning products don’t hurt your loved ones. If the label states “keep pets and children away from area until dry” follow those instructions carefully, and store all chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
- Paint and paint thinners—If you’re putting a fresh coat of paint on the house, keep the pets away. Paint thinners, mineral spirits and other solvents can cause severe respiratory or ocular irritation from exposure to the fumes, chemical burns if swallowed or even dermal contact burns if they come in contact with their skin. Latex house paints typically produce a minor stomach upset, but some specialty paints may contain heavy metals or volatile substances that could be harmful if ingested.
Just like us, pets love spring time—it means better weather and possibly more outdoor time to release all that pent up winter energy. By keeping tabs and following these few tips, you can ensure a safe and happy season for you and your pet.
Contact Bridgewater Veterinary Hospital at 908-704-6700 with any questions regarding this topic. Be sure to check us out on Facebook or visit our website at bridgewatervet.com.