Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes many dangers to your pets that as a pet owner, you need to know about. Dave Wilson, Director of Shelter Health and Wellness at the Ontario SPCA, shares what some of these spring dangers are.
One general challenge Wilson says to be aware of is the fluctuating temperatures. These he says cause a challenge when deciding how long to let you pets be outside. Wilson says it’s best to watch the wind chill and be aware of if your pet is trying to tell you if they’re cold or not.
Spring Dangers pet owners should be aware of
Another danger, Wilson says, is melting snow and discovering what’s underneath it. He says there may be some squirrel food or bird feces that has been on your lawn since November and has now fermented for months. It’s important your pets are kept away from eating that he says.
“Heaven knows how tasty that looks to your dog or your cat and they gobble it up,” he says.
Other things Wilson says that can be found underneath melted snow and ice include litter, cigarette butts, and anything else disregarded in the winter. Because dogs travel with their noses, Wilson advises owners to be actively observing on walks and in more familiar places.
“You’ve got to have hawk-eyes and really check your yard, check your property,” he says.
Excess of salt
Wilson says salting poses a threat to your pet as well, even if the roads haven’t been salted recently. When the ice and snow are melting, he says this creates salty water. When you’re on a walk, Wilson says it may just look like sand, but there’s actually salt mixed in.
Salt can act as a local irritant, Wilson says, but if it dries and irritates your pet they’ll start licking it too.
“Then they’re dealing with possibly large amounts of salt intake. Salt’s a poison in large quantities, and it can cause problems,” Wilson says.
To avoid these problems, Wilson says to dip your pet’s paws in a basin of water when you get home, to rinse off the salt.
Wilson says plants with bulbs like Tulips and Lilies, need to be watched out for very carefully.
“Every single one of them is everything from a mild stomach irritant all the way up to a really strong toxin,” he says.
When the soil becomes warm and fragrant in the spring, Wilson says animals are drawn to the smell and can eat the bulbs. For a list of poisonous plants and flowers, check out the Ontario SPCA’s factsheet.
Another danger to be aware of, he says, is some people may start putting down early fertilizer. The fertilizer has an appealing smell to animals, Wilson says, but can be poisonous.
Fleas, and Wildlife
Wilson says flea season is pretty much year round now because there isn’t heavy enough freezing for them to die off. The Spring, he says, is when the eggs are beginning to hatch however.
For outdoor cats, spring means they’re starting to hunt again, and Wilson says a lot of mice carry fleas and tapeworm which your cat could get from them.
A final danger is that spring means wildlife is more active and waking up. Wilson says this means it’s the beginning of mating season, which means about a month from now litters will start being born.
“When you’re out walking at night, be vigilant to see that long-haired black and white thing may not be a cat, it may actually be an unpleasant surprise,” he says.
For more tips on Spring and taking care of your pet, check out the Ontario SPCA factsheets.