Spring is here! While many people tend to think of spring cleaning at this time of the year, another thing that’s just as important is preparing your dog for the change in weather. Chances are, in light of everything currently happening with the COVID-19 crisis, you’re spending a lot more time at home these days.
This means you have even more time with your favorite pup(s)! You can maximize this time by utilizing the following tips. That way, you and your dog will be fully prepared for the spring season ahead!
Get ready to brush… a LOT!
Most dogs are about to say goodbye to their winter coats, which means shedding time is upon us. Not only do you want to remove all this excess fur from your pooch, so that he doesn’t overheat with the rising temperatures – you also want to avoid your home turning into a hairy mess!
In general, brushing your dog on a regular basis produces positive results and plenty of health benefits! For starters, it keeps the coat smooth and shiny, and also helps stimulate your dog’s blood flow. Not to mentions, grooming a dog creates a special bonding experience between you two.
There is quite literally no downside to brushing your dog!
De-shedding him can sometimes require certain tools, such as blades and rakes. Depending on the breed, you might need to hand strip. No matter how you’re brushing and de-shedding your dog, just make sure to watch out for matts and other tangles!
Make sure you understand which tool(s) to use, and how to apply proper technique. This article is very helpful in walking you through the basics of brushing.
Make sure your yard is safe
After a long and arduous winter, it’s also important to check that your backyard is completely safe for your pooch to go play in. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that there are no holes in your fence that he can potentially escape from.
You should also check around the grass for any unexpected holes. The last thing you want is for your dog to accidentally twist anything and/or injure its leg.
If plants have a tendency to grow in your backyard, or you have a green thumb, there are also specific types of greenery that you absolutely need to avoid. Certain plants are toxic to dogs, such as:
- And more!
The same goes for specific types of herbs and vegetables. If you’re growing your own garden, things like onions, rhubarb, and tomatoes either need to be sealed off from your dog, or avoided altogether.
For a more comprehensive list, here’s an article detailing 50 dangerous garden plants for dogs!
Pro tip: Should your dog manage to chew or eat any of these poisonous plants, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
Take lots of walks together!
For most dogs, a walk is one of their absolutely favorite things. Now that the weather is getting better, they should absolutely be taken outside and able to enjoy it more! Just like with humans, fresh air is extremely beneficial for a dog’s overall health.
Fresh air not only helps purify the body and boost the immune system, it also helps stimulate a healthy appetite! Not to mention, a dog’s daily walk can often be the main source of exercise.
Exercise for any pup is vital to their health. In addition to giving them a chance to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing, walking outdoors can also provide soothing relief to any nerve pain they may be experiencing.
Plus, going on a walk allows a dog to be, well, a dog. There’s a whole world out there of new and exciting smells, tastes, and sights – and your dog wants to experience them ALL.
While a walk may sometimes be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day, it can often be one of the highlights of your dog’s day.
That alone makes it more than worth it.
Note: This being said, if your dog is old, overweight, or has any sort of medical condition, make sure you keep the walks low-intensity at first. While it may be tempting during the first beautiful weekend of the season to take Santa’s Little Helper on a 5-mile hike, it could also lead to injuries if your dog is not in the proper shape. Tailor his walks to what will best suit HIS needs and capabilities.
Get ready for pest season
One downside to the arrival of nicer weather is that it also means the arrival of all those pesky bugs that disappeared during the winter. When it comes to your dog, the most common bugs to watch out for are fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
If Cujo isn’t currently up-to-date on his vaccinations, that’s a critical place to start. Beyond that, there are other preventative measures you can take. Some steps you can take include:
- Preventative medication
- Note: Make sure to consult your veterinarian to find out which medication would be best!
- Bathe your dog on a regular basis
- Clean your home often – such as by vacuuming the floors, shaking out your cushions and pillows, and washing all bedding (including your dog’s)
- And much more!
Should your dog fall victim to a flea or tick infestation, this article has some ready good advice about how to handle it.
Schedule an appointment with the vet
It’s recommended that you take your dog to the vet at least once a year. Springtime is the perfect opportunity to do this! During this appointment, you can make sure your dog’s vaccines are all current, as well as ensure he gets a full checkup.
That being said, we also fully understand that there’s currently a pandemic going on. Some hard-hit areas may have strict stay-at-home policies. You may also not be in such a place, but simply don’t want to risk exposing yourself to any unwanted germs by going out if you don’t absolutely need to.
If so, we totally get it, and that’s okay! Should you not be able to go out right now, or don’t feel comfortable in doing so, it’s totally okay to wait until things go back to normal to take Fluffy to see his vet.
So long as he’s in good health, his legally-mandated vaccines are up-to-date, and he isn’t displaying any alarming symptoms or health concerns, this routine checkup doesn’t have to happen right now.
Don’t do a 180 on your pet
The thing about this COVID-19 crisis is that so many of us have no choice but to be at home right now. While this is a huge change for us, it’s also a big change for your dog.
He’s likely not used to having you home so much, and he can’t exactly comprehend WHY his best friend is suddenly around all the time for endless snuggles and attention.
All he knows is that he loves it.
In a dog’s world, his owner is not just his best friend – his owner is his everything. The longer this situation continues, the more your pup will get used to having you around all the time.
Of course, while this is happening, you should definitely be taking full advantage of it. Cuddle, play, and interact with your dog as much as you can. It’s good for you and him, both physically and mentally.
But with that in mind, remember the impact it can have once life inevitably returns back to normal. Because it WILL; there’s no doubt about that. When that time comes, you’ll understandably be excited to get out of the house, socialize with friends, and get back to work.
But remember: your dog won’t understand why just as suddenly, you went from always being there, to not being home for long periods at a time.
While this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from living your life, be mindful of the fact that your abrupt absence can also have its own affect on your dog’s mental health.
So, when the day arrives that it’s safe to go back outside, and the world goes back to normal, just make sure you don’t do a complete 180 on your pooch. Even if it requires a little bit of effort, always ensure to make time for him.
Even just one minute with you is his favorite time in the world.
Can you think of other helpful ways to help prepare your dog for spring? Let us know in the comments!