Even though the calendar says February, Mother Nature has been very kind to us on the South Shore this winter! What a glorious week we’ve had with temperatures in the 60s and 70s!

The official start of spring will be upon us in just a few weeks! Temperatures will begin to remain favorable and outdoor activities will return full tilt.  And with the glorious Spring weather, new hazards arise for our domestic pets.

Get Back on Track with Heartworm Prevention

One of the single, largest dangers to the health of our domestic pets is heartworm disease.  These opportunistic worms spread through mosquito bites and can significantly damage the health of infected pets. Heartworms are carried by mosquitos when temperatures are above 55 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended number of days.  Pet owners should be proactive right now and get their pets back on heartworm prevention medications if they were taken off during the winter months.

Continue Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas are dormant outside during the winter months, however they can be seen all year round indoors.  Once they are present indoors, they are very tough to get rid of.  They infest animals and can also jump to humans. These disgusting bloodsuckers start eating and reproducing within 5 minutes of landing on a warm body. In addition to the direct effect of flea bites, fleas also carry a number of diseases (i.e. bubonic plague and murine typhus).

Ticks are also a major problem for the spring season.  Ticks breed in late April, May and June. Ticks also serve as vectors for Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Fever.

While the peak season for fleas and ticks is a month or so away, get your pets back on preventive medication right away as we head into the warmer weather.

Pets Also Suffer from Seasonal Allergies

Just like their humans, our pets can suffer with seasonal allergies from new grasses, flowers and trees blooming in spring.  However, unlike most humans, pets manifest their allergies through the skin rather than their respiratory systems.

Keep an eye out if your pet is scratching or licking excessively or having ear troubles (head shaking, scratching).  These are all classic signs of pet allergies.

Ramp Up Exercise Slowly to Shed Winter Weight

Pets and their humans alike, tend to gain winter weight because of a change in their exercise levels.  With warm weather on the way, opportunities abound for our pets to shed winter pounds.  Just like people, pets need to start slowly back into an exercise program.  A walk around the block to start, with marginal increases to pace and distance each week.  Owners should be aware that increasing exercise for your pet too quickly can result in injuries just like it can for humans.  Go slow and everyone will be fit and ready to enjoy the summer months!

Get a Microchip

If you haven’t done so already, get your pet a microchip!  If your pet will be spending more time outdoors, a microchip is an excellent way to identify your pet in case they get out of your yard or break off a leash.  A needle is used to place a tiny chip under the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip has a unique number on it that can be read by a scanner and link the pet back to its owner.  Micro chipping is an effective identification resource as it can be done to many domestic pets including horses, dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” – Ann Landers