Whatever your religion, whether you celebrate Easter or not, this weekend and as we enter into spring, there will be plenty of festive things that sound inviting to partake in with your dog. When it comes to a dog friendly spring, there are some things to do to make things fab and other things to avoid so that dangerous situations do not arise.
If you work hard and count on quality weekend time with your dog, here’s a list of things that you should do and some things to avoid so that everyone has a very happy celebration.
Let’s start with the Do’s
Give your dog some outdoor time: If the temperatures are rising in your area, it is likely you’ll be venturing out with the dog. After a long winter, with many dogs getting limited outdoor time, start slow with any exercise routine. Something as simple as tossing a ball to a dog who hasn’t been running all winter can wreak havoc on bones, joints, and ligaments. This dog mom knows all too well about torn ligaments, as my dog has had two ACL surgeries to repair torn ligaments.
Give your dog safe toys and treats for the holiday. Is there anything cuter than the latest Peeps toys and treats for dogs? We attended the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, last week, where the Peeps treats and toys were all the rage. Is it any wonder? They are stinkin’ cute.
PEEPS® branded toys are available at national retailers, including PetSmart.
Here’s Dexter checking out some of his Peep-stash!
Have an “Easter” egg hunt indoors. Place dog treats or small dog-safe toys (i.e. ball) inside plastic eggs or small gift boxes if plastic eggs don’t seem as safe to you. Scatter the eggs in an area that dogs are allowed (i.e. behind things, under a couch cushion, in a corner) and ensure there are a few adults present. If dogs are treat or toy territorial, proceed with caution.
Consider visiting a pet-friendly winery. Leashes and leaves, concords and canines: As the buds make their presence known on the trees, so do the grapes at America’s wineries and distilleries. What better way to spend a spring weekend afternoon than strolling the picturesque grounds of a winery, the crisp memory-invoking scents in the air with Fido along for the visit. Peruse the Virginia wineries and the Napa Valley wineries for more information.
Hint: There are a plethora of pet-friendly wineries in the Long Island area of New York, one of which we visited this weekend. Thanks to the Martha Clara Vineyards for your pet-welcoming policy. My dog and his doggie pal had a wonderful time strolling the grounds, meeting the on-site farm animals, and being by our side as we savored some of the delectable wines available.
And Now the Don’ts:
Do not give your dog fatty foods. Avoid the temptation to give your dog ham. Ham and other fatty meats are high in fat, and dogs who consume them can develop life-threatening pancreatitis. In addition to being high in fat, these foods are very salty and can cause serious stomach upset if eaten by your cats or dogs.
If you have a large breed dog who eats ham, this will make them thirsty from the salt content. Karen “Doc” Halligan, DVM, advises, “Large breeds of dogs that eat salty food may drink too much water and develop a potentially fatal condition called bloat. The stomach fills up with gas and within several hours may twist on itself, causing the animal to die. So avoid giving ham and/or rich/salty meats to your pets.”
Don’t expose your dog to seemingly innocuous spring pet poisons like:
- Lily of the Valley
The folks at the former VPI Pet Insurance state that these are some plants are reported to be toxic to dogs, cats, or rabbits:
- Day Lily
- Death Camas
- Easter Lily
- Lily of the Valley
- Morning Glory
- Tiger Lily
There are many other poisonous plants…many of which may be in your household or garden right now. Check out this list of poisonous plants from Pet Poison Helpline. Keep them away from dogs to avoid problems.
Don’t expose your dog to a lot of chemicals. With spring cleaning around the corner, avoid toxic products. Dogs spend much of their time at home, lounging around, playing, eating, sleeping, etc. Whatever chemicals you use to clean house can directly affect a dog’s health. Consider the dog’s paws and his proximity to the floor: Anything down low is definitely going to affect a dog. He walks on the floor/carpeting, and whatever you use is going to affect his skin, lungs, coat, feet, and possibly even his oral cavity: If he licks it, then that’s a whole other internal set of issues.
I recently met the folks at PL360 at the Global Pet Expo, and what rock have I been living under? There, they told me, “We think the sign of a clean home should be something you see, not smell. That’s why we’ve created natural household solutions that are safe for pets and that work to your expectations.” So I stocked up on some of their grooming wipes to clean off dirty paws after a walk. Keep in mind, your dog is exposed to most anything when on a walk, including chemicals. Avoid tree lawns and yards where chemicals may reside, some of which have signs posted.
HIDDEN EPIDEMIC ALERT
Give your dog expired treats. This is an epidemic that few are talking about. Dog food and dog treats have expiration dates. Check dog food expiration dates and treat expiration dates. If you have no idea how long those dog treats have been in the cupboard, toss them out. Dogs can get sick or worse with treats gone bad. You wouldn’t drink old milk right? Dogs are the same way – bad treats are bad treats. If you can’t remember when you purchased that bag of treats, better to be safe than sorry: Chuck ‘em.
This is a hidden epidemic that few people talk about. We all know that expired ingredients are bad for people and the same holds true for dogs.
Assume that sidewalks and lawns are safe from debris. With winter snows melting in many parts of the country, left behind on Mother Nature’s bed of earth are items and objects unsafe to dogs. Proceed with caution when walking on grass/surfaces that haven’t seen the light of day without being snow covered in ages
Click This: Spring Cleaning Dog Dangers to Avoid
What sort of things do you do with your dog in the spring?