Safety is at the top of everyone’s minds lately.
While safety has always been important, now, more than ever, it’s a regular focus for a lot of us. With the rapid spread of coronavirus, it’s not just firefighters and police officers who have to think about safety now; we all do. And, when you’re a pet owner, you have to think about your pet’s safety in addition to your own.
Spring, and also the coronavirus pandemic, bring about a lot of safety risks for your pet that you should be aware of. By knowing the potential dangers to your dog and how to avoid them, you can also avoid an emergency trip to your local veterinarian.
Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Spring
#1. Take your dog on walks, if you can.
Social distancing means avoiding unnecessary contact with others and avoiding large crowds, but for most people, it does not have to mean giving up walks with your dog. Walking is good for both you and your dog; we all need exercise, after all, and the vitamin D you get from the sun will help to fend off seasonal affective disorder.
Keep basic safety guidelines in mind while out walking your dog. Stay at least six feet away from others, and try to walk your dog during off-peak times of the day when fewer people are outside. It’s also very important that you walk your dog on a leash. This is about your dog’s safety as much as anyone else’s, as cars and aggressive dogs are both very real dangers that you should protect your dog from.
#2. Watch what your dog eats.
If your dog is anything like mine, they probably spend a lot of time eating whatever they can find, whenever they can find it. When I take her on walks, she tries to eat berries, goose poop, worms — anything she can get ahold of, and when she’s in the yard, all she wants to do is eat sticks. Some things are perfectly harmless, like grass, but a lot of things dogs pick up outside can put them at risk.
Sticks, for example, are sharp and could injure the inside of your dog’s mouth, and if your dog swallows a big enough piece of stick, it could potentially cause an obstruction in their bowel. Dogs who eat goose poop are at risk for both salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause diarrhea. And, there are several flowers and wild mushrooms that grow in the spring, many of which are toxic to dogs.
When your dog picks up something they shouldn’t be eating, redirect them with a toy or a bone. And, if your dog is a known-chewer, rethink leaving them outside unsupervised.
#3. Don’t forget about your dog when you’re stocking up.
As evidenced by the nation-wide toilet paper shortage that’s going on right now, lots of people all over the country are stocking up on the essentials they need. And, when you do, it’s important not to forget about your dog.
There are certain things you need to survive in the event of a mandatory quarantine, and there are certain things your dog needs to survive, as well. You should, of course, make sure that your dog has enough food, but it’s also important to get a full supply of any medications your dog is on.
#4. Keep cleaning products out of reach.
Spring is the perfect time of the year to deep clean your home, and with coronavirus spreading around, cleaning regularly is more important than ever. The Centers for Disease Control recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces multiple times per day, like doorknobs, cellphones, handrails, etc. Luckily, many of the cleaning products you have on hand will work well, but you can’t count on some of the more natural options, like white vinegar, to do the trick.
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently means that cleaning products will be around frequently. But, if you’ve got pets (or small children) at home, it’s important to ensure that you always take the time to put them away when you’re done. Dogs are curious by nature, especially when they’re puppies, and many common household cleaning products are toxic to them.
#5. Get your dog on a heartworm preventative.
Most people don’t think about mosquitoes coming out until May or June, but the reality is that they start coming out as soon as the temperature starts reaching at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular basis. And, with mosquitoes, comes the potential for heartworm, which is a parasite that can cause serious problems in dogs, including cardiac failure.
Luckily, heartworm is easily prevented by putting your dog on a monthly preventative medication. It’s never too early in the year to get your dog on a heartworm preventative; in fact, most veterinarians recommend that dogs get them all year.
#6. Protect your dog against fleas and ticks.
In addition to those pesky mosquitoes, the warmer weather also brings about fleas and ticks. If fleas and ticks are a problem in your area, it’s a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the options to prevent them. There are shampoos, collars, and topical and oral medications, so you have plenty of options to choose from, and your veterinarian can guide you on choosing the best option for your dog.
It’s also a good idea to be vigilant about watching out for ticks any time your dog spends time outside. This way, you’ll be able to promptly remove any ticks you find right away.
Find a veterinarian near you with Top Rated Local®.
The spring — and the coronavirus pandemic — comes with its own unique risks for your dog, but a little mindfulness can go a long way towards keeping them safe. If you do find yourself in need of veterinary care, turn to Top Rated Local to find a great veterinarian near you. With Top Rated Local, you can read a veterinary clinic’s reviews from across the web from one convenient place!