Spring, the most colourful season of the year, has arrived! Along with the spring flowers and warmer weather comes a whole host of potential hazards for our dog and cat companions. We’d like to share a selection of dos and don’ts to ensure spring passes by safely for you and your pets.
As the nature wakes up, so do the insects!
Allergies to bee, wasp or hornet stings can be very dangerous for your pets due to the effects of anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock can occur in both cats and dogs, but dogs suffer from it more frequently.
This doesn’t mean we have to limit their freedom: if they happen to suffer from this type of allergy, just be more vigilant checking your pet for stings and consult your vet so that you know what to do in an emergency.
As the temperature rises, parasites begin to spread. Not only are they bothersome for you and your pet, they can also transmit diseases or cause infections in our little friends:
🔸ticks can infect the blood with Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and more
🔸fleas can cause intestinal infestations such as roundworms or tapeworms
🔸mosquito and sandflies bites – in particular when traveling with your pet in Europe – might result in filariasis or leishmaniasis respectively
There’s no need to be overly alarmed though, you should simply be aware of the problem and take some precautions – as prevention is better than cure!
Your vet will be able to advise you on all the strategies you can apply to keep your pet safe and sound, according to its lifestyle (e.g. whether it ventures outside, or you live in the city or countryside etc.). However our vet has provided some of the main ones below.
There are many ways to help our furry friends
For instance, care should be taken during walks in meadows with tall, wet grass because these places are ideal for ticks to thrive.
At dusk or at night, we can protect our pets with mosquito nets and ultrasound repellents, especially when travelling abroad.
Today, there are many products on the market you can use to combat parasites. Natural remedies are growing in popularity because they are less aggressive than their chemical counterparts – and they can be a great ally.
The use of these natural products varies according to the environment and the lifestyle of your pet, and they generally require a little more effort from us for them to be effective. This because their protection does not last as long as a chemical treatment does, meaning they must be reapplied several times throughout the day and just before going out for a walk.
But it’s a worthwhile sacrifice to respect and protect our planet!
Cats, plants and flowers
Many houseplants that we buy to decorate our homes are harmful for our cats. That’s why it is important to check with your vet before introducing a new one to your living space.
It’s impossible to give a complete list of every plant that is poisonous for your cat however it’s worthwhile knowing that some of them may lead to a local reaction if swallowed, while some others can cause kidney or liver issues, or even affect the heart or central nervous system.
Here’s a brief list.
🔸 Lilies are extremely toxic for cats and even a small amount can cause severe kidney damage if ingested
🔸 Tulip bulbs can cause severe gastroenteritis and may also affect the heart tissue, inducing cardiac disorders
🔸 Epipremnum aureum (Devil’s ivy) and Spathiphyllum (like Spath or the Peace Lily) can cause severe inflammation of the lips, mouth and airways, mouth ulcers, drooling and vomiting if ingested
🔸 Azalea, rhododendron, cyclamen and chrysanthemums if ingested cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances including vomiting and diarrhoea.
🔸 Lily of the valley and the buttercup can cause low blood pressure and disorientation
What plants are cat friendly?
Mint, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Chamomile and many other aromatic plants can be used to decorate and perfume our house. They are totally safe and our cat will enjoy discovering and smelling them!
Some other harmless ornamental plants you can consider are Lavender, African Violet, Begonia, Cornflower and Petunia.
Nature knows best. Our pet shedding hair in spring may be messy for us but is just their way of getting rid of their winter coat.
Facilitating this process by grooming them with a suitable brush will help our animal lose their undercoat faster.
Be careful not to trim a dog’s coat too short though: remember that in winter a dog’s coat helps to keep your dog warm, while in summer it is used to regulate body temperature.
Like with humans, as the temperature rises it is time for a lighter diet for our pets too. Including fish, which is rich in omega-3, in their diet will help them maintain a healthy coat in spite of the heat and the stress of shedding.
If you didn’t feed your dog wet food in the winter, now it is important to add some. A spoonful of wet food mixed with their kibble (dry food) will help keep them hydrated and delight their “palate” while providing an additional supply of nutrients in this season when more energy is expended by your pet.
Unlike dogs, cats ALWAYS need wet food to aid with hydration. Wet food is also useful for eliminating hairballs that might be ingested when your cat grooms itself.
In fact, there are specific anti-hairball recipes that are rich in fibre that facilitate elimination of hairballs, and you can also use wet food in jelly that also helps cats pass the hairball naturally.
Stay tuned, because next time we will be talking… chocolate!