6 Spring Safety Tips for Dogs: Keeping Your Pet Safe and Happy

Spring season is here, which means your four-legged pals are excited to enjoy the warmer weather. This vibrant season offers dogs a sensory playground—full of new smells, sights, and the joy of endless exploration. It’s a season that invites playfulness and exercise, which are unquestionably important for the dog’s health and happiness. 

Like any season, spring also has its share of tiny problems when dogs go outdoors. These include the emergence of ticks and fleas, the blooming of toxic plants and the increased likelihood of encounters with wildlife, such as bears, foxes, coyotes and even skunks. 

Common Spring Hazards for Dogs

Among the common spring hazards for dogs are pesticides, which can be found coating the lawns and gardens they love to explore. These chemicals, while keeping plants pest-free, can have harmful effects if ingested by pets.

Similarly, some potentially harmful plants begin to sprout, and without proper knowledge, dogs might find themselves chewing on leaves and stems, which could lead to severe health issues.

Wildlife, particularly skunks, become more active, increasing the likelihood of unfortunate encounters. Their defensive spray poses a significant concern for dog owners. If you’re living in an area with a surfeit of skunks and they tend to cause trouble in your property, contacting the skunk removal experts near you will be your best option.

Not only is the smell difficult to eliminate, but the spray can also cause temporary discomfort or even injury to a dog’s eyes and senses, making them a particular worry during the spring months. Here are some tips on how to let your dog safely enjoy the spring season. 

Secure & Inspect Your Yard

No matter what breed your dog is, they all want the same thing: to roll in the dirt and dig the ground as much as they can. If your yard doesn’t have a fence or if your existing fence is too flimsy for your dog, now is the perfect time to consider upgrading your outdoor space. 

A sturdy, dog-proof fence not only keeps your dog safely within the confines of your yard but also protects them from external threats such as aggressive animals like skunks or traffic.

As the weather warms up, an array of wildlife becomes more active, often seeking food and shelter in residential areas. This increases the chances of them finding ways into your yard or even your home. 

Checking for and securing potential wildlife entry points is a critical step in preventing these accidental invasions. Small gaps in fencing, open vents, or holes near the foundation of your house can serve as invitations to small animals looking for a new home. By identifying and sealing these breaches, you not only protect the local wildlife from the dangers of domestic territories but also keep your dogs safe from potential threats and diseases that wildlife such as skunks may carry. 

Beware of Harmful Plants, Pesticides, and Fertilizers

Many plants that thrive in the spring, including lilies, sago palm, and foxglove, are toxic to dogs and can cause a range of health issues, from gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening conditions. Awareness and vigilance are key, ensuring these plants are out of reach. Or, you can opt for non-toxic varieties to create a pet-safe garden. 

Similarly, some pesticides and fertilizers, while essential tools for the avid gardener, may contain substances that are harmful to dogs. Accidental ingestion or even just skin contact can lead to serious health complications. Dog owners must use dog-friendly products and keep their dogs away from treated areas until it’s safe.

Get Routine Check-ups

Routine check-ups at the vet aren’t just another item on your dog care to-do list. They are fundamental to ensuring your dog’s long-term health and happiness. These visits provide a framework for preventive veterinary care, enabling early detection of health issues that might otherwise go unnoticed until they become severe. A routine check-up assesses everything from dental health to joint mobility, and vets can offer invaluable advice on keeping your dog healthy based on their age, breed, and lifestyle.

Moreover, a critical aspect of these check-ups is vaccinations and parasite prevention. Vaccines protect against common diseases like rabies, distemper, and parvovirus, safeguarding not just your dog but also the wider community. Additionally, a regular schedule of parasite prevention is essential to fend off fleas, ticks, and heartworms, which can cause a host of health issues. 

Each visit to the vet is an opportunity to adjust your dog’s preventive care regimen, ensuring they remain protected against these common but dangerous threats.

Make Sure Your Dog is Always Hydrated 

Your dog is at higher risk of dehydration during warmer seasons. Dehydration in dogs can lead to decreased oxygen delivery to organs and tissues, an imbalance of electrolytes, and in severe cases, organ failure and death. Key signs of dehydration include loss of skin elasticity, dry mouth, gums, and nose, lethargy, and excessive panting, not to mention obvious weight loss.

To check for dog dehydration at home, you can perform the “skin tent” test by gently lifting the skin over your dog’s shoulder blades and observing how quickly it returns to its normal position. 

To encourage your dog to drink more water and stay hydrated, ensure they have constant access to fresh water. Dogs can become dehydrated due to insufficient water intake, which can be a result of not having access to water or refusing to drink due to illness or behavioral reasons. 

It’s also important to recognize the causes and symptoms of canine dehydration to respond quickly to any signs. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, reduced energy levels, panting, sunken eyes, dry nose, and sticky gums.

Your Dog Got Sprayed? Create a DIY Skunk Spray 

It’s inevitable for your dogs to encounter wildlife, even in your own backyard. In case skunks get into your property and spray your dog, act quickly to remove the odor and minimize discomfort to your furry friend. Here’s a simple home remedy for a dog sprayed by skunk.

Creating a DIY skunk odor removal solution is a practical first step. Begin by mixing 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap. This mixture is effective because the chemical reaction neutralizes the skunk oil, breaking it down and deodorizing your dog’s coat. 

It’s important to use this solution immediately after mixing and not to store it, as it can become unstable. Thoroughly wet your dog’s fur with water, apply the mixture carefully, avoiding the eyes and mouth, and let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. This may need to be repeated for persistent odors.

While many turn to tomato juice as a traditional remedy, its effectiveness is often debated. Some sources suggest that while tomato juice may not fully neutralize the skunk smell, it can mask it temporarily. For the tomato juice method, thoroughly soak your dog’s coat in tomato juice, let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, then rinse and follow up with a dog shampoo to remove any residue​.

Regularly Call Wildlife Removal Experts

Wildlife professionals have the skills and tools necessary for the humane and secure management of skunks, protecting both the creatures and residents. They don’t just remove the animals; they also fix any harm done and take steps to avoid future problems. 

Hiring professionals in wildlife removal doesn’t only solve the immediate skunk issue. They also remove lingering smells, mend any property damage, and block entry points to thwart future invasions. Their humane capture techniques and knowledge of skunk behavior and health risks, such as rabies, mean choosing their services is a proactive way to keep your environment safe and sound.

Let Your Dog Savor the Spring

As the flowers bloom and the days lengthen, spring beckons both humans and their paw pals to go outdoors and play in nature. However, amidst the excitement of exploration, you as a dog owner must prioritize the safety and well-being your dog.

These tips—securing yards, avoiding harmful plants and chemicals, scheduling routine check-ups, promoting hydration, and being prepared for encounters with wildlife— can safeguard your dogs from seasonal hazards and ensure they thrive in the warmer months. Remember, a little preparation and vigilance go a long way in fostering a happy and healthy springtime for you and your dog.

About the Author

Luqman Butter is a certified pest exterminator with over a decade of experience in wildlife removal and pest control in Toronto, Canada. He has had the pleasure of dealing with every pest imaginable; from bed bugs, rats, skunks, snakes and bats. His passion for pest and wildlife control has led him to become a trusted voice in sharing knowledge and information about pest and wildlife control with the mission to educate people on how to deal with various pest issues in the most effective way possible.

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