It's officially spring, which means your pets will have chirping birds to chase, colorful flowers to sniff, and warmer weather to enjoy. With all the outdoor fun awaiting you and your pet, it's easy to forget about some of the chores of pet ownership.
Here's your guide to make sure your "paw-rent" responsibilities don't fall by the wayside as you frolic in the fields with your furry friends.
Flea and tick medication
Prevention is always the best strategy for fighting fleas and ticks, regardless of the time of year. As the weather gets warmer, these parasites become more prevalent, and your pet will likely be outdoors more often, which increases the threat of fleas and ticks two-fold.
Both fleas and ticks can cause serious health problems for your pet, including Lyme disease, anemia, tick paralysis, tapeworms, skin irritation, and a fatal disease called cytauxzoonosis. They're also simply disgusting pests. Fleas can multiply very quickly, sometimes producing millions of eggs. That can lead to an infestation in your home that is tough to eliminate.
There are several types of flea and tick medications you can buy. Topical solutions, pills, collars, and sprays are just some of the options you can use to prevent fleas and ticks. Pay attention to each product's specific instructions to make sure you apply them correctly.
Vaccination is a hot topic right now. As you organize your COVID-19 vaccination appointment, think about the last time your pets received their shots. These immunizations are often required by rental properties, and they're even more necessary if you plan on taking your pet to hang out at dog parks or other public places. Shots for rabies, distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, bordetella, canine hepatitis, feline leukemia, and rhinotracheitis are all likely necessary or highly recommended.
Perhaps the most unpleasant chore of pet ownership (besides picking up after your pet's "business") is nail trimming. If you do this task at home, try pushing the pad of your pet's paw to expose the nail. This will help you see the full length of the nail so that you don't cut too closely and hit the "quick," which will cause your pet a lot of pain and could result in a bloody mess. Cut your pet's nails when they're calm, and encourage them to sniff the clipper while rewarding them with treats to increase your pet's comfortability.
Bath time isn't always easy, either. Many pets will squirm or cower in the corner of the tub, making your job much harder. However, it's something you should do every few weeks to refresh your pet's coat and to wipe off any dirt, allergens, and germs that may have collected during their time outdoors.
Brushing your pet is an essential part of grooming, especially for animals with long winter coats. You'll probably notice increased shedding in the spring, and consistent brushing will help remove the excess hair. If you neglect to brush your pet, the dead coat and dirt could build up and cause your pet some discomfort.
Seasonal allergies may cause your pet to have itchy eyes and develop allergic conjunctivitis. Cold compresses on the affected eye or medication recommended by your veterinarian can help with pet allergy symptoms.
It's one thing if your pet lays down and stays calm in the car, but that's probably rare. All animals should be belted and restrained in the back seat to prevent injury. If your pet is really energetic, you may need to put them in a crate during the ride. Offer treats, toys, and blankets to make your pet feel more relaxed inside the vehicle. Don't allow your pet to sit on your lap while you drive because any unexpected movement or distraction can lead to an accident.
Spring is meant a fun gateway to summer, filled with new beginnings and joyful activities. Taking care of the not-so-fun stuff first will allow you to put the rest of your time and energy into making memories with your pet this year and for many years to come.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.