Springtime Safety Tips
Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts inevitably turn to Easter celebrations, spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects.
But the new balmy weather can prove not-so-sunny for curious pets-or their unwitting parents. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your delicate, furry friend.
To help you out, ASPCA experts have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent mishaps or misfortunes.
Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk-especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.
While every pet parent knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.
Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets' way! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.
Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.
Pet parents, take care-fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren't meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them. Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out our list of garden toxins.
Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants-including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas-are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.
Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
April showers bring May flowers-and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program. Ask your doctor to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.
Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off or sprint out of the house. Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your current home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information. Canines should wear collars (and so should felines if they will put up with it!)
If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.