Whether you own a cat or a dog, it’s important to prepare your four-legged friend for the spring season. The warmer weather brings with it pesky parasites, seasonal allergies, and SHEDDING—lots and lots of shedding. Here are the three most important things you must do to prepare your pet for the upcoming spring season.
Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
Fleas, ticks, and other disease-carrying parasites thrive in warm weather. Fleas lay dormant in the winter but reappear as soon as the weather changes. Ticks on other hand don’t begin to breed until late April. If you live in a warm climate, vets recommend that you use a flea/tick prevention method year-round. If you choose not to treat your pet year-round, you should begin your prevention regimen as soon as you notice the weather getting warmer. There are many flea/tick preventive products on the market but the most common are:
- Drops that are applied directly on the skin once a month (Frontline, Advantage, Advantix, ect)
- Pills or chewable tablets that are given once a month
- Collars that must be replaced monthly
Heartworm is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. Like fleas and ticks, mosquitoes thrive in warm weather. This means that your pet has an increased chance of getting heartworm in the spring and summer. You can protect your pet by giving them a heartworm prevention pill or chewable tablet every month. Heartworm medication is only available with a prescription from the vet. It cannot be purchased over-the-counter.
Both cats and dogs begin shedding their winter undercoats in the spring. You can minimize shedding by brushing your pet every day. Routine brushing is particularly important for pets with a long and/or thick coat. Thick or long coats can become matted as hair that loosens in the spring catches on the remaining coat and tangles. If the coat has already become tangled, you may have to take your pet to a professional groomer. A well-groomed coat ensures that your pet won’t overheat and that your house isn’t covered in fur.
Just like humans, pets can suffer from seasonal allergies. The most common symptoms are sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and itching. In some breeds, symptoms may also include ear infections, itchy skin, and red blotches. If your pet has any of these symptoms, you should schedule a visit to the vet. The vet will prescribe a daily antihistamine and/or refer you to a specialist for allergy testing.
Family changes during the winter months can put on a couple extra pounds. Dust off that leash and enjoy your beautiful spring weather with walks! If your first starting your exercise regimen, begin slowly and work up to longer exercise times. Don’t jump in too fast to avoid injury.
Click on the links below for more information about preparing your pet for spring.