SPRING is HERE – What do you need to watch out for?
(Make sure you enter our competition to win a dog bed & 6 months of flea prevention, see below)
Grooming – dogs are shedding winter coat, to grow their lovely shiny summer coats. Long haired dogs will need constant brushing at this time of year, don’t wait until the matts form to start this. Make sure you have appropriate brushes, investing in a good grooming rake or slicker brush will make this job a lot easier. Even short haired dogs will really appreciate a good rub over with a grooming mitt or a brush. If you need them, make your bookings with the dog groomers early – they often book up at this time of year.
Flea control – start this early, before your dogs become irritated by them. As soon as the weather warms up slightly, the fleas will start. There are many options available – get good advice on what will work best in your situation. Early prevention will help avoid those skin irritations which can be so distressing for the dog, and expensive to treat.
Seasonal allergies – If your dog suffers from these, having a management plan in place before the situation gets really uncomfortable is a really good idea. To help prevent your pet from becoming really itchy & miserable, organise a consultation with your vet early in the season to discuss the best approach. This could be part of your annual health check visit.
Snail bait – every year in spring we see dogs poisoned with snail bait, don’t let it be your pet! If you have a dog, the safest is don’t use snail bait, find other options. If you absolutely must use it – ensure the areas where it is applied are fenced so that dogs can’t go there & spread the baits thinly so the dog can’t eat much at once if they do break in. Packets of snail bait are particularly dangerous and must be locked up securely at all times.
Snakes – are coming out of hibernation, they are active & hungry. We see more snake bites in the spring than in other seasons. Be really vigilant, particularly if walking in the bush with your dogs, but snakes can turn up in town as well. Signs of snake bite can include collapse, vomiting, dilated pupils, salivation, weakness. If your dog is outdoors and these things happen – get them checked straight away.
Heartworm – we used to be confident that this was not a problem in the Latrobe Valley – but heartworm has been found in canines in South Gippsland and the Maffra area, so we cannot assume any longer that we are safe.
Heartworm is transmitted between dogs by mosquitoes, so it is difficult to ensure your dog won’t be exposed if it is present. Once established, heartworms live inside the heart of a dog – they are difficult, dangerous and expensive to treat. However prevention is easy & safe. We now recommend that all dogs in the area receive heartworm prevention. This can be given monthly, or annually – discuss the best option at your annual health check. The annual injections have been demonstrated to be a far more effective option, and they are certainly the easiest to manage. This spring (September & October), Latrobe Veterinary Group is able to offer an excellent program, where a FREE heartworm test (generally over $50) is offered for every dog starting annual heartworm injections.
- Build exercise up gradually, particularly if you haven’t been doing much at all. If your dog is younger with no known injuries, but has been a winter couch potato, start with a 15-20 minute walk, add 5 minutes every day.
- Don’t allow running without a warm up. Ensure you have walked briskly for at least 5 minutes, preferably 10, before allowing your dog off lead.
- Throwing balls is fun for everyone, but a common cause of injuries, and should not be the only form of exercise. Rapid stops, start with twisting and jumping can be a recipe for disaster. Again, ensure a brisk walk before any ball play. Throw a ball in a larger area, and throw it a good way – use an arm extender if you need to.
- Have a chat to your vet to devise a safe plan, if your dog is injured or particularly unfit.
Holidays – as everyone starts to think about summer holidays, an important question is ‘what is the dog going to do’? If going to boarding kennels you need to ensure vaccinations are all up to date well in advance. If you are taking the dog with you, particularly up the East Coast, you need to be sure that tick & heartworm control are in place. If travelling with the dog – does it get car sick? You don’t want him/her setting the kids off! These are all important things to sort out well in advance – again, a chat to your vet at the annual health check can be really helpful to do this.
BBQ time – it’s lovely to start enjoying that el fresco lifestyle again after the winter hibernation – but please make sure your dogs are safe. Kebab sticks are a nightmare if swallowed by a dog – be really careful to dispose of these quickly. Over indulgence on sausages & other fatty foods can make some dogs really sick. Cooked chop bones can cause major problems such as constipation, even peritonitis – just put them in the bin. Dogs shouldn’t drink beer or other alcoholic beverages, no matter how funny it seems. Have fun, but please stay safe.
Closes October 31st 2017
Categorised in: Seasonal tips
This post was written by Kate Haines