The warming weather is coming – it’s time to plan for warmer days. You are probably looking forward to opening up the windows, enjoying the fresh air and taking long hikes with your dog. As you begin the time-honored tradition of spring cleaning, this is also a great time to catch up on these important pet care tasks.

Spring Cleaning

It may feel wonderful to have your furry best friend be your shadow, but don’t forget that your pets are curious and may get themselves into trouble in your home. Cleaning products, even natural ones, can be harmful to your pet; so be sure to keep them away when you are tidying up. Outdoor lawn products are dangerous, too. Be sure that you are following directions for any lawn fertilizers or weed control, and inform your lawn and pest control professional that you have pets. The ASPCA has posted a great list of Poisonous Household Products here.

Windows Open!

Nothing is better than airing out your home after a long winter. Your cat loves sitting in the windows, too. Unscreened or poorly screened windows can be a big hazard to cats, as they can jump or even fall through a faulty window opening. Check all your windows to be sure that you have snug and safe screens. Car windows can be hazardous as well. Most dogs love to feel the wind on their face, but this practice is an accident waiting to happen. Dogs should be secured in the car in a crate or seatbelt harness. A head out of the window will lead to eye or ear injuries, and abrupt stops may cause a fall.

Spring for a fresh ‘do

We are all couch-potatoes during the long winter months. Now is the time to get trimmed up and bathed for the better weather – your pets need spring cleaning, too! Be sure that you are using preventatives for fleas and ticks each month, and that you have not skipped any months of heartworm preventative. Keep your cats’ and dogs’ nails trimmed. Help your pet shed out their heavy winter coat by brushing them every day.

Mosquito season is right around the corner – if heartworm preventative slipped your mind, be sure to visit your veterinarian and get your dog tested.

Spring Fitness

Now is the time to get back into an exercise routine with your dog. Does that harness fit correctly? Is your leash safe and secure? You may have dreams of running a 5K with your dog, but start out slowly. Your dog needs to develop endurance just like you. Because dogs can’t sweat like you or me, they can easily get overheated, and heat stroke can occur even in mild spring weather. If you are hiking with your dog, consider fitting your dog with hiking boots to protect his paws. Be sure that your dog is microchipped and wears an ID tag. Always carry water for you and your dog, and remember to stop regularly to hydrate.

More Spring Safety

We are blessed to share our home with pets, remember to keep them safe. Do you want more information about pet poisons and hazards? Sign up for your Free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA and they will send you window decals, hotline emergency numbers, and more!