With the coming of Spring, it’s important to brush up on those threats, waiting in the warm sun, for your pet.  Check out these suggestions to prepare yourself and your furry friend for the warm months ahead.

Spring is the time to check your dog’s collar and name tag again.


A couple weeks ago, my dog Arlo’s cousin Dakota escaped from his back yard.  It was a nice day and he was in his fenced-in yard enjoying the sun.  When Dakota’s dad, Josh, came back to check on him, he was gone.  The worst news came just 5 minutes later.  Josh had realized he had just switched Dakota’s collar and his tags were not on the new one.

We immediately organized a search party to find him.  Dakota is just a puppy and lives near a busy intersection so we were extremely worried about cars.  We searched for a couple hours with no luck.  With the sun starting to go down and no sign of Dakota, Josh started to panic.  He called every animal shelter in the area letting them know that his dog got out, and does not have tags.

A couple hours later, Josh received a call from a local animal shelter.  They had found Dakota, but he was in need of medical attention-he was found with a serious gash on his leg.  Upon the news, the entire family raced to his side.  Apparently Dakota had attempted to jump his fence, only to get his leg stuck. The cut on his leg had scared him so much that he just started running.  A fellow dog lover found him and after realizing he needed medical attention and had no tags, he called the local shelter.  Because Josh had made the local shelters aware of missing Dakota, they were able to reunite them.

While this story has a happy ending, not all do.  Checking your dog’s tags should be as routine as checking your smoke detectors.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care
Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out the full list of garden care tips.

Let your garden bloom! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out the full list—and pictures—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Think cocoa mulch sounds like a good idea?  Think again.  Cocoa bean mulch is widely used for agriculture and gardening.  While the cocoa bean itself is a rich source of the alkaloid methylxanthines, theobromine and caffeine, if animals ingest whole beans, or cocoa powder, signs of “chocolate toxicity” can develop.

Choose pet-safe options for substances like snail bait, weed and feed products, or go organic and try planting flowers like Mexican marigold, which naturally repel insects without harming animals. When all else fails, check the label.  Most gardening products will contain information about human and pet contact after use.  If there’s a doubt about the product’s safety for your pet, don’t use it!

Spring Cleaning

 Getting ready to do a little spring cleaning? If so, don’t forget your dog. Give them a fresh start by… 

  • Picking up the yard: With a bag, collect small rocks or other debris that might cause a dog to choke or get lodged in his foot. By doing so, you will lower his risk of having an outdoor accident.
  • Washing toys and bedding: Bacterium and fleas can build up on your canine’s toys and bedding. Throw them in the washer or clean them with a mix of distilled water and vinegar in order to eliminate or reduce these problems.
  • Replacing your dog’s collar: As a dog gets older, his collar wears out or gets too small from him. Avoid the possibility of it becoming embedded by replacing it yearly with a new one.
  • Cleaning eating and water bowls: Germs – bacteria – can collect on anything that touches your dog’s mouth. Thoroughly clean your dog’s eating and water bowls by putting them in the dishwasher. This process will do away with the kind of dirt not visible to the naked eye.
  • Sterilize any dog brushes or combs: Grime and dirt can collect on dog brushes and combs. Sterilize them by soaking them in hot water and soap. Then, dry them off with a paper towel.

In order to protect your pet from possible harm, it’s important to make sure you keep known poisonous plants and toxic items out of reach, watch for plants and toxic items that have been chewed on, keep an eye on your pet for symptoms of poisoning, and take your pet — along with a sample of the plant/toxic item — with you to your veterinarian immediately if you suspect a poisonous item has been consumed. Add these things to your spring agenda and start your dog off right for the warm weather.

*Tips courtesy of the ASPCA