The long, cold snowy days of winter will soon be behind us and sunny, warmer days are ahead of us so now is the time to start thinking about getting our four legged friends ready for the new season to come.I believe that first and foremost you should make an appointment with your vet for an annual check-up. We need to be sure that your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations, is in good physical shape and ready for additional exercise and the longer, warmer days ahead. This is also the time to discuss with your vet the best prevention method for your dog with respect to heart worm, ticks and fleas.
The majority of veterinarians today will provide you with a tick removal tool, so be sure to ask for one and also make sure you learn how to use it in the event you do find a tick on your dog.If you take your dog to parks or heavily treed areas, it is important to check your dog thoroughly after your walk to make sure a tick hasn’t attached itself to your pet.
Not being as active during the winter months may have caused you and your dog to gain a few extra pounds and become a little lazy. So now is the time to start getting into a regular routine of some good walks, a healthy food regimen and some strengthening exercises. Jogging, cycling and long walks are all good, fun activities you can enjoy with your dog, but better to shape up first so you can enjoy yourselves.
If your pup has had obedience training, you may want to get yourselves involved in agility classes or possibly herding or fly ball. All of these activities are not only fun for both of you, but can also increase and strengthen the bond between the two of you and will also keep his obedience training fresh.
If your spring and summer activities include hiking and camping, you may want to consider getting your dog some new outdoor gear. Many dogs enjoy having a job to do, so why not get your pup his own backpack and then he can carry a portable water dish, some extra water, treats and a toy. You should also invest in a long leash to keep your furry friend in check, but at the same time giving him a little freedom so you can both enjoy a safe and fun romp through the woods.
Taking your pup to the “spa” for a grooming is also important. Your dog
will not only benefit from a bath and brushing, but it will also help him shed that winter coat which will prevent him from overheating in the warmer weather to come. It’s also important to have your dog’s ears cleaned and his nails trimmed so there is no discomfort when walking or running.
As we all know, some dog breeds handle the heat of the sun better than others, and you should know what class your dog fits into. Regardless of your dog’s breed, you need to be certain that your dog never becomes over heated. Be sure to supervise him when outside and give him access to plenty of water and shade when needed. Do not leave him unattended for long periods of time when the temperature starts to soar. I cannot stress enough the importance of NEVER leaving your dog locked in a car during the spring and summer months, even if it is only for a short time. The temperature in a vehicle can escalate very quickly and can cause severe distress and even death for your pet in a very short period of time. If you must be out for a lengthy period of time, leave your pet at home and take him out later in the day when you can spend some fun time together.