PETstock VET Dr Natalia Li shares springtime safety tips for pets
To help pet owners navigate the change in season, Dr Natalia Li from PETstock has compiled a helpful guide of springtime safety tips for pets to keep our pets happy and safe this season including fleas and ticks, toxic plants, allergens and snakes.
In spring, pets are more prone to grass allergies, which are caused by the pollen that floats through the air and penetrates their skin and nasal passages. Symptoms include:
- irritated and watery eyes,
- a runny nose, sneezing,
- excessive itching, skin irritation,
- and bald spots.
If your pet is experiencing these symptoms, visit your local veterinarian who can provide further advice on immunotherapy injections, shampoo to decrease the itching or an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Grass seeds and burrs
With our pets spending more time in the garden, be wary of grass burrs that can lodge into their paws, ears, eyes or anywhere in their furry coat. These thorns or prickles can dig deep into your pet’s paw if stepped on and can cause them great pain. Pay attention to behaviours such as:
- excessive scratching,
- shaking of the head and constant licking, and
- lookout for redness, swelling or an abscess at the entry point of the grass seed
You should only attempt to remove the grass burr if it is visibly protruding from theentry point, otherwise it will need to be removed by a vet.
Flea and tick safety
Fleas and ticks are common in Australia and can make your pet dangerously ill. Ensure all cats and dogs in your household have been treated with the correct flea and tick protection before allowing them outside. Consistency is key, so it’s important to continue with monthly applications throughout the rest of the year after initial treatment.
Itchy skin and grooming
Seasonal allergies occur when a pet’s immune system identifies something in the environment as threatening or dangerous. One of the most common symptoms of springtime allergies is itchy and irritated skin. This can be relieved through a nutritious, balanced diet containing essential nutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Just like humans, our pet’s outsides can be a reflection of how they fuel their insides. Also, it is important that you don’t over groom them and irritate their skin further and always use a gentle, pet formulated shampoo.
Hiking and walking safety
As the warmer weather kicks in, you’ll want to bring your four-legged friend along wherever you go – including hikes or long walks. Before you venture out, make sure your buddy is up to date with vaccinations and worming, especially if you’ve just welcomed a young, new pet into your home. Make sure that your pet is microchipped and registered with the council and ensure their microchip details are up to date in case they wander too far. If you’re going on a hike or long walk in an unfamiliar area, pack and prepare for the unexpected with food, water, medication, and emergency supplies. To prepare for any unexpected incidents such as a snake bite, familiarise yourself with the closest vet clinic or animal hospital.
It’s also time to prepare for your pet’s re-emergence into the backyard and remove hazards that can cause unnecessary search parties or trips to the vet. Remember, dogs can squeeze into small spaces, so it’s essential to ensure all holes in fences are secured. In terms of garden safety, please visit the ASPCA website for a list of common plants that can be toxic and even fatal to pets. Also, you can keep your pet free from ticks and other parasites by
maintaining a well-trimmed lawn. With that seasonal itch, it’s a great idea to provide proper scratching posts for your feline in your home. Cats should have places they are allowed to stretch and care for their claws, without the risk of destroying furniture, drapery, and carpet. To protect wildlife, it’s important to keep cats indoors, so creating an inviting space inside will help keep them comforted and entertained.
Non-desexed female cats and dogs experience hormonal changes during spring, with many pet cats beginning their search for a mate. Ensuring your male or female pet is desexed will reduce the change of unwanted litters and behavioural problems, such as aggression, urine marking, and roaming. Additionally, unneutered dogs are more prone to health problems such as cancer and pyometra.
PETstock Assist is one of our wonderful Supporters of the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021. More at rescueawards.com.au