AWE . . . Spring is here in Minnesota. I’m so happy for the warm weather! The snow has gone, the grass is greening, flowers are blooming and the birds are singing! As much as we’d like to just sit back and enjoy it, all of these bring potential problems for our dogs that we need to prepare for.
- Heartworm Disease – this may be the most important of all. Heartworm disease is spread through mosquitos and affects the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels and can cause permanent damage. Heartworms can live inside a dog for 5-7 years, greatly affecting quality of life. While heartworm disease is treatable; prevention is better. One tablet a month of veterinarian prescribed medication can not only save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in treatment, but can keep your dog happy and heartworm free. Our Minnesota dog boarding facility carries a great product, Wondercide, to repel Mosquitos and flies! It is made from cedar oil, so it's 100% animal safe and proven very effective.
- Ticks – They give us the creepy crawlies! No one likes to talk about them, but they are definitely something we need to prepare for. Ticks carry a wide variety of diseases, the most common one being Lyme’s disease. It can take several days to weeks before you see symptoms of a tick-borne disease. While there are several repellants to use against ticks, you should still preform a thorough daily check on your dog if you’ve spent time near wooded areas, tall grasses or any body of water.
- Fertilizer, Insecticides, herbicides – We want our houses and lawns to look and feel great for our backyard barbecues and bon fires, but most of the products we use are toxic to our dogs. Keep your dog off of treated areas for at least 48 hours to prevent any risk of poisoning. Better yet, look into more organic and less toxic treatments.
- Allergies – With the beautiful grass and flowers that are blooming come allergens! Common signs of allergies are red/dirty ears, skin that is red, inflamed, scabby or moist, weeping eyes and excessive scratching, sneezing or licking. Talk with your vet if you suspect your dog may have an allergy to discuss proper treatment and prevention.
- Wildlife – Now that the Minnesota snow is gone, your dog may find dead critters to nibble on in the back yard; and some may be carrying diseases and parasites that can be picked up by your dog. Don’t forget to grab a bucket and a scoop and check the yard before unleashing them to go and explore. Another concern with the great outdoors is birds of prey & coyotes. If you have a small or medium sized dog (under 30 pounds), be sure to keep a close watch on them and never leave them unattended outside. Spring time is mating season and animals tend to be more aggressive and protective of their territory. Small dogs make easy prey for the hawks and eagles flying overhead.
- Distractions – While you’re having a barbecue in the back yard, a guest leaves the fence gate open and your pup escapes. Or, your spouse left the car window down too far while they went into the store; a dog walked by and your dog jumped out the car window! Is your dog wearing the proper identification? Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar, with a name tag and phone number. You never know what might happen. It’s better to be safe than without a dog!