Spring pet safety
How to protect your pets from seasonal dangers.
Spring has spring – the days are longer, temperatures warmer and flowers in bloom.
But the warmer weather brings seasonal hazards that could spell disaster for pets.
AWLQ rehoming partner Petstock vet Dr Alison Kemp shared her tips for a safe spring.
Toxic plants and flowers
Many Queenslanders embraced their green thumbs during lockdown, however trendy plants including lilies, monsteras, fiddle leaf figs and ZZ plants could be toxic to pets.
“Several of the most popular household plants and flower species can be toxic and even fatal to pets,” Dr Kemp said.
“Symptoms of plant or flower poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, depression or other abnormal behaviour, seizures, excessing drooling or weakness.
“if you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous plant or flower, please contact your vet immediately.”
There are many trendy, non-toxic options safe for cats and dogs including blue echeveria, donkey tail, calatheas, peperomia and ponytail palm.
The ASPCA has complied a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants and flowers.
Just like humans, pets can also experience seasonal allergies.
“Allergies occur when a pet’s immune system indented something in the environment as threatening or dangerous,” Dr Kemp said.
“Common springtime allergens for pets include grass, weed and tree pollens, dust and mould.
“Most symptoms include red or irritated skin, bald or thinning patches of the fur, itchy and smelly ears, and excessive licking of an areas on their body.
“If your pet does suffer from seasonal allergies, ensure you don’t over-groom them and irritate their skin further and always use a gentle pet formulated shampoo.”
Fleas and ticks
Fleas and ticks are common in Queensland, especially during spring and summer, and can be fatal.
Ensure all cats and dogs in your household have been treated with the correct flea and tick protection before allowing them out in the yard,” Dr Kemp said.
“Consistency is key, so be sure you treat your pet now and continue monthly applications throughout the rest of the year.”
Take your pet to the vet immediately if you suspect it has a tick.
Warmer weather means snakes will start to make an appearance on paths and in backyards.
“Inquisitive dogs not keeping a safe distance may get bitten, so keep an eye on your buddy and monitor them for signs of a snake bite including lethargy, wobbliness, drooling and vomiting,” Dr Kemp said.
“If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake it’s essential to seek emergency hospital care immediately.”
Curious pets spending time the garden or backyard may be susceptible to bee stings.
“Just like humans, pets’ physical reactions will differ in severity when stung by a bee,” Dr Kemp said.
“If your pet has been stung and you’re unsure whether they are allergic or not, contact your local vet and describe your pet’s symptoms so they can make an accurate assessment.”
Pets with bee sting allergies should be closely monitored outdoors as bee or wasp stings can be fatal, particularly to small breeds.
“Pets with light skin and short or thin hair are particularly prone to sunburn which can lead to skin cancer or other sun-induced skin diseases,” Dr Kemp said.
“Although the sun may feel tame in spring, it’s important that pet owners carry pet sunscreen with them on their daily walks and apply it in the months leading up to summer to decrease their chances of obtaining a fatal skin disease.”
Spring is the perfect time to deep clean your home, but cleaning chemicals can be toxic to pets.
“When cleaning, ensure you are keeping all chemicals and cleaning products out of your pet’s reach, especially if you are using soap water in a bucket that is easily accessible to pets,” Dr Kemp said.
“If it’s a nice day, opening the windows while you’re cleaning will help prevent your pet from inhaling any harmful chemicals.”
Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested cleaning chemicals.