Ah, the sweet sounds of spring! After what seems like a long winter that snuck into the springtime, the rising temps, and lighter and “longer” days are a true welcome!
With spring, comes more time outdoors for fun with our pets. But, before heading out into the yard, it is important to do a seasonal safety check. You never know what those winter winds and wildlife may have left behind in your yard!
Here are some of my FiveSibes tips to help keep the fun in spring for our dogs!
What’s in Your Yard?Walk your yard and property line, where your dogs have access, and give it a good safety check. Get down to your dog’s level and see it from their perspective. Check for anything that the wind may have blown into the yard, such as plastic grocery bags, old food wrappers, etc. Check fence lines and mend any broken sections, gates, etc., that could pose an escape hazard. Are there any places where wildlife or insects have made a home? Check for any toxic items—such as old moldy food dropped by wildlife, any containers of ice melt, or other items that could pose a danger to dogs—that may have been left outside or had been buried under snow or hidden under water or mud.
Budding TroubleLook out for any poisonous plants or shrubs starting to bud, as well as the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides around your, or your neighbors’ yards. Thinking of landscaping with mulch? Cocoa (also known as cocoa bean) mulch is toxic to dogs, while other types of mulch can possibly pose a possible choking hazard. Check with your vet first about the safest choices of mulch to use if you have dogs.
BBQ TimeBe sure to have safety mechanisms in place so your beloved dog cannot get too close to the BBQ grille and possibly get burned.
Gear CheckLook over all collars, leashes, and harnesses to be sure they are not frayed, chewed, or otherwise compromised.
Cool PoolsIf you have an in-ground pool, even if it is gated, be sure you have a wide enough ladder that is pet accessible so if they accidentally fall in, they have a way out. Kiddie pools are a fun, safe, and inexpensive way for your dogs to cool off on a hot day. Now is a great time to purchase one or two before they are sold out for the upcoming summer season.
Cool, Clear WaterAlways keep fresh, cool water available in your dog’s outdoor area. Be sure to clean it daily to avoid any buildup of contaminants. Did you know a glass bowl on a wooden deck could be dangerous and act like a magnifying glass, possibly starting a fire? A stainless steel water dish is the best choice! Keep it in a cool place, and bring it in at night to avoid rusting.
Electric Cord SafetyIf you have an outdoor deck fan to help circulate air to keep your dogs cool, be sure to check the cords to ensure they are not frayed, cut, or chewed. Run a test to make sure all work safely and properly.
Battery CheckReplace batteries and check connections for outdoor and indoor pet video cameras and monitors. And don’t forget to check fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors.
Other important Springtime safety checks include:
- Making sure your dogs’ tags and microchip information is all up-to-date on both the collar tags, as well as at the vet office and microchip company.
- Keeping your dog’s flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives on schedule. Discuss with your vet the best options for prevention for your dog. Also, don’t forget that annual check-up!
- Reviewing your dog’s First Aid Kit to be sure nothing has expired. Warmer weather also means the arrival of bees, so check with your vet about including an antihistamine in the kit and what the proper dosage for your dog would be.
- Did you know the use/misuse of some essential oils could be toxic to dogs? If you use essential oils inside or outside of your home, please be sure to run it by a canine expert, such as a veterinarian and/or holistic vet, before exposing your dog to them.
- Updating all vet and emergency contacts, including Poison Control numbers, in your home and in your cell phones. For more info on the Pet Poison Control Helpline, visit http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/contact/ or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.
When the yardwork is all done and ready for spring, here’s to many long days of safe, outdoor fun with our furry best friends!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).