Yes, spring! Everybody wants to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather. Here are some tips to keep your pets and wildlife safe as you enjoy yourselves.
Before your dogs and cats start frolicking outside, make sure their vaccines are up-to-date, in particular Parvo (for dogs) and Rabies (for dogs and cats). Parvo is a deadly disease that can easily be prevented. Puppies need a series of three vaccines. Your new puppy should not visit public parks and other areas frequented by other dogs until their vaccines are finished. Rabies vaccines are required by state law for both dogs and cats.
Dog licenses are required by towns and cities across the state. Licensing your dog is an easy way to stay in compliance with your town laws as well as ensure that your dog is current on his or her Rabies vaccine. It's easy to license your dog in any town or city. Simply bring an up-to-date Rabies certificate into your local town or city hall, and they will happily issue you a license and tag.
ID tags are not just a fashion statement. They save lives. Both dogs and cats should wear tags at all times. Most animals entering animal shelters are not wearing tags and do not have microchips, making it very hard to reunite them with their owners. You can make metal tags with your name and phone number very cheaply at most large pet stores. Microchips are available from your veterinarian.
Leash, fence, or monitor pets outdoors. Beautiful weather makes it tempting to let your dog go outside unattended. Rabbits should be brought indoors each evening and never left unattended outdoors. Cats should never go outside unattended!
Bird lovers, please remember to place your bird in its cage before you open windows.
Horse owners, spring is the time to get back into a riding routine, put horses out on pasture and clean up after a long winter. If your horse is barefoot or if you pulled her shoes for the winter, it's time to call the farrier again. Even if you plan on keeping your horse barefoot, she probably needs a trim so she can be comfortable when you go on rides.
Flea, tick, and heartworm treatments are important for all pets that go outside. Medications are available from your vet. Never mix dog and cat medications; they are different
Beware poisonous plants, some flowers and plants are poisonous to pets. Lawn fertilizers, cocoa bean mulch, and rodent poison are other pet hazards that appear frequently in the spring. If you suspect poisoning go to the veterinarian immediately.
Spay or neuter pets and "community" cats. This is the calm before the storm...of kitten season. Every summer, shelters nationwide are overwhelmed with homeless cats and kittens. Many more are left on the streets, and many die. Please get your cat sterilized now if she isn't already. If you are feeding a stray, she will get pregnant soon and can have as many as 3 litters (15 kittens or more!) this season
Leave baby wildlife alone. Baby rabbits, birds, and other critters are arriving. Keeping your dog on a leash and your cat indoors will help these babies survive. Experts' biggest tip if you find a young wild animal: leave it alone.
As we humans do our spring cleaning, we should watch for wildlife while mowing, raking, and tidying our property. Block dryer vents and chimney pipes to prevent nests.
Be smart about pets in cars. Never leave your pet locked in your car--even "just for a few minutes" or "with the windows cracked." Your pet can suffer heat stroke quickly even on a mild day. Dogs and cats can't sweat to cool off. And while we all know 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 ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse.
Following these tips will make spring safer for your beloved critters and the wildlife around our homes.