By Dr. Roger Krogstad, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
After a small taste of spring, it is time to prepare ourselves and our pets for its full, inevitable return. We are already seeing pets with allergies. As the snow melts, it exposes the molds and mildew allergens lurking below. A few broken toenails will also present as they have seen little wear in winter to keep them short.
The thick hair coat will no longer be needed for warmth, so a thorough brushing to remove the undercoat or a visit to the groomer for a clipping and nail trim will be in order. Dogs with newly exposed skin may now be at risk for sunburn. The higher calorie diet or increased food volume of winter should now be scaled back to prevent unwanted weight gain. With pets living longer, obese pets have more arthritis in hips, knees, and backs.
Before long runs or walks this spring, pets’ soft foot pads should be conditioned gradually with short walks on hard surfaces. This will also serve as gradual physical conditioning for both pets and pet owners out of shape from a less active winter.
Along with the warm up we also see the bugs up. Ticks are already being found on pets and people after those few warmer than normal weekends. Soon we will be hearing the buzz of bees and the hum of mosquitoes.
Be sure to have an antihistamine in your pet’s first aid kit, and ask your veterinarian about the proper dose should those bees or wasps attack when the summer cabin is opened. Most veterinarians recommend year-round tick and flea and heartworm protection. Do not delay to begin those protections if no medications were given this winter.
Many were not expecting such an early spring, but year-round treating proves to be the safest plan for your pet.
Taxes and licensing occur for many at the same time. The state only requires the rabies vaccination be given, but veterinarians will assess your pet’s risk for other diseases and make appropriate recommendations for additional vaccination protections.
Finally, as the last of the snow melts, hidden “treats” may be exposed to tempt your pet. Anything that could be of food value may be attractive to them — from animal waste to dead critters. A good visual sweep of your yard to remove these temptations may take a little time but could prevent big medical problems. As always, spring cleaning also applies to our pets.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.