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5 Springtime Health Hazards For Dogs

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Now that the harsh winter weather is almost behind us and Spring is peeking through, we are all excited to get outside with our pets.  In order to truly enjoy the nice weather, we need to keep our family dog safe from potential springtime health hazards.


Toxic Plants:  Not all plants are animal friendly.  If your dog ingests just a small amount of these common plants, it can lead to serious health issues.  Just a few potentially dangerous plants include: Azalea, Bittersweet, Crocus, Day Lily, Ferns, Lily of the Valley, Morning Glory, Tiger Lily, and Tulip.

RELATED: Love Plants & Pets? How to Safely Share Your Home with Both

Fertilizers and Pesticides:  What springtime gardening routine is complete without adding fertilizer to grow grass/plants, and pesticides to kill off unwanted bugs and weeds.  However, these chemicals pose a significant health concern for pets.  The safest option is to forgo using any of these products in your yard.  If that’s not possible, seek out pet-safe options when available.

Pick Up the Sticks:  After the winter thaw, we are apt to find countless sticks all over our yard.  Most dogs are drawn to these.  We may think they are suitable toys and entertainment items for our dog, but they are not.  Your dog may have played with these in the past, and experienced no issues; but that is not always the case.  Tree branches are not designed to act as chew toys.  As a result, they can splinter/break, cut a dog’s mouth/throat and cause a severe choking hazard.  Instead of sticks, use suitable toys as an outlet for your dog.  Dog toys include: A Frisbee, tug toy, squeaky toy, ball, etc.

Safely Enjoy the Dog Park:  Many owners love taking their dog to the dog park to enjoy off-leash freedom while playing with their four-legged friends.  There are a few very important safety considerations owners should know before using the dog park.  Learn “What You Need to Know About Dog Parks” here.

Allergies:  Spring time can cause allergies to arise in our pets, just as much as they do in us.  Common allergens for dogs include: flowering trees, dandelions, tulips, insects, dust and mold.  Allergy symptoms can manifest themselves in the form of itching, coughing, sneezing, flaky skin or extra oily coat.  Keep an eye out for these symptoms in order to help ease your dog’s discomfort.

Spring is an enjoyable time of year for many of us. The season is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of how we can help to keep our dog safe from common springtime health hazards.  If you suspect your dog has been exposed to any health hazard, do not wait.  Immediately contact a veterinarian for professional medical attention.  Prevention is always the best medicine.  Whenever possible, take proactive steps to help prevent health issues for your dog.

Steve Reid is a certified dog trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training, LLC in Somers, NY. 

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