Despite the early sunsets and short days, the winter months can certainly feel long. If you and your pooch prefer the warmth, be reassured that spring is just around the corner. As we anticipate the change of seasons, it’s time to start switching gears.
You and your dog may feel more than ready for spring, but are you adequately prepared? Read on for some tips to prepare your pup for spring.
While it’s important to provide year-round protection from pests such as ticks and fleas, many pet owners tend to press pause on flea and tick medications during the winter months, especially in colder areas of the country where fleas tend to go dormant in low temperatures.
If you happened to stop your dog’s flea and tick medications this winter, it’s time to start back up again. As the weather warms up, those pesky parasites will only become more plentiful. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of inspecting your dog for ticks when you had back inside after an outdoor adventure.
As you clean your house for spring, don’t forget to include your dog’s belongings in the mix. It’s a good idea to clean your dog’s bedding (and toys) every three months—or just about every season change—to get rid of any fur, dander, and bacteria build-up.
In the spring, it’s especially important to rid your dog’s bedding of any fleas or flea eggs, not to mention pollen or other allergens that may affect your pup if he has seasonal allergies.
Spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to the inside of your home, though. Clear your yard of debris that could have made its way into your yard during a winter snowstorm, and check for any hazards such as holes in fences or broken lawn decor.
If you notice more shedding than usual in the spring and fall, your dog may be a seasonal shedder who switches out his heavy winter coat with something lighter.
Brushing your dog regularly is a great year-round practice, but it’s extra essential in the spring. Brushing helps to keep shedding under control as you pick up loose or dead fur before it ends up all over your house; it also helps to remove dandruff and any seasonal allergens (like pollen) which can cause discomfort. Make sure to use the right kind of brush for your dog’s coat.
Chances are, your dog hasn’t been needing as many baths as usual over the last few months, especially if the dry winter air tends to irritate his skin. Help your dog get used to the idea of taking more baths by gradually increasing the frequency of his tub times—especially if he’s prone to rolling around in the mud!
If your pooch is long overdue for a makeover, check out our blog on summer grooming tips for dogs.
Prepping for Outdoor Activities
If you and your dog have only been braving the cold for bathroom beaks and essential outdoor activities, you’ll want to make sure Fido’s gear is still in good shape before you head out for your first warm-weather venture.
Check that collars and leashes are still in good shape and that they still fit comfortably… especially if your dog is still working off that holiday weight. Clean any portable food and water bowls, checking for expiration dates on treats that you use while out. You’ll also want to ensure that all info on your dog’s ID tag and microchip is up-to-date.
If your dog has been cooped up at home for the past few months, keep in mind that a sudden switch to outdoor environments with other people and pets can be an overwhelming adjustment. Take it slow, switching up your walk route every so often. For example, take a detour through the park on your way home. If you do head to any crowded areas, closely monitor your dog for any signs of stress and be prepared to remove him from the environment if necessary.
If you haven’t already scheduled your pet’s annual vet visit, there’s no time like the present! Visiting the vet in the spring is a prime time to get your dog up-to-date on all of his vaccines and medications and give you a better understanding of his overall health so you can keep him happy and healthy as we approach the warmer months.
Keeping Seasonal Dog Allergies Under Control
Some dogs, like some humans, get seasonal allergies with the transition from winter to spring.
You may notice seasonal dog allergies in the form of:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Respiratory issues
- Hair loss/excessive shedding
- Shaking head
- Scratching ears
- Licking paws
If your dog is affected by environmental allergens such as pollen, grass, and weeds, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your doggo’s discomfort:
Avoid walks in the early morning or late afternoon, when pollen levels are at their peak for the day.
Wipe your dog’s paws before coming inside to keep the allergens out.
Wash your dog’s toys and bedding regularly.
Vacuum at least once per week.
Use hypoallergenic shampoos when you give your dog a bath, especially if his allergies show up on his skin.
Give your dog dietary supplements, such as Pet Honesty’s Allergy SkinHealth Chews. These tasty chews are made with a combination of natural ingredients to help soothe skin-related allergy issues and promote a healthy immune system.