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By John Dake

It’s officially spring on March 19, and we’ll see start seeing a return of warmer temperatures. That means more time outside for your and your dog outside under the sun!

As great as that may be, warm weather and playing outside also presents certain dangers to our dogs, like increased risk of heartworm disease, tick bites and seasonal allergies. The pawesome news is that we can protect our furrever ones.

Prepare your Pet For Seasonal Allergies
More and more canines are suffering from seasonal allergies, in much the same way that people do. Sensitivities to grass, pollens, flowers, and/or plants is on the rise due to inbreeding and overbreeding. If you notice your pet itching, scratching, or sneezing after playing outside, they might be having an allergic reaction. You need to contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule allergy testing, in which case they may insist on placing your dog on an allergy medication, or more frequent bathing during the warmer months.

Set Your Dog Up for Heartworm Prevention
The bane of everyone’s existence during the warmer months, mosquitos, is the largest contributor to heartworm disease. When mosquitos bite your dog, they transmit parasitic worms that infect your furrever one. And, if you are one of those that thinks you don’t see mosquitos, so they aren’t a problem, think again. Mosquitos are not discerning in terms of their prey. And many of them are very small, so you may not notice them around your pet. Get your pet on a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment, before letting them loose in the yard, or even for long walks in Urban parks.

Prepare Your Dog to Combat Fleas and Ticks
As the warmer temperatures return, so do the culprits that are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease and many other ailments, fleas and ticks. And while they can infest your dog at anytime throughout the year, warmer months tend to have the highest infection rates of the year as you spend more time outside. Protect your pet with an oral or topical treatment.

Microchipping Is Essential
As we all love going out for long walks with our furrever ones when the warmer temperatures hit, that means there are more opportunities for your dog to get loose or run off. Warmer temperatures also means more people out doing recreational activities like cycling, motorcycles and the like. These activities often make dogs upset, resulting in them running away from the noise. That is why microchipping is essential. And while you have a collar on your dog with appropriate contact information, often those collars and tags rub off to the point that you cannot read the phone numbers. A microchip contains a unique ID number. After the chip is injected, you can register that ID number with your contact and urgent medical information. This way, if the pet is ever brought to a shelter or veterinary practice, a quick scan will provide the information needed to get in touch with you.

Keep Cool and Carry On
As the Spring begin to heat up our environment, that means Summer is on its heels. That is when temperatures climb with a risk of your dog overheating. On those hot days, schedule your walks in the morning or evening to avoid high midday temperatures. If you live in an Urban environment, try to find areas where you can walk your dog that don’t have sidewalk or asphalt as they tend to heat up easily, sometimes resulting in burns to your dog’s paws. Hydration is essential when the heat turns up, so make sure to bring extra water for your furrever friend on long walks or hikes. Excessive panting, staggering, and high body temperature are signs of heatstroke which can be fatal. If you see any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Poisons To Watch Out For
Certain foods and plants, are poisonous to pets. You need to be aware of these so that you can keep your dog safe. The most lethal food ingredients for dogs are garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, apricots, caffeine, chocolate, gum, alcohol, and salt. If your dog ingests any of these, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Plants are purely based on geography. To get a better understanding of what plants in your town, county or state are poisonous to your pet, please contact your veterinarian.

By planning ahead for your furrever friend, you can ensure a happy, healthy and fun Spring!