Springtime Pet Safety and Tips

Spring Dog

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, it’s time to start spring cleaning and allowing the fresh outside air indoors.  But the new balmy weather can prove problematic for curious pets—or their parents. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your furry friends. To help you out, Veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic have come up with a few seasonal tips that will help prevent accidents or unfortunate situations.

Windows and Screens

Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows. Be sure to install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows. If you have adjustable screens, make sure they are tightly wedged into window frames.

Restrain in Car Rides!

While every pet owner knows dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the bed of pick-up trucks or poke their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous. Flying debris and insects can cause inner ear or eye injuries and lung infections, and abrupt stops or turns can cause major injury, or worse! Pets in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

Spring Cleanup

Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals away from your pets! Almost all commercially sold cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage.

Home Improvements

Products such as paints, mineral spirits and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends. Also, be cautious of physical hazards, including nails, staples, insulation, blades and power tools. It may be wise to confine your dog or cat to a designated pet-friendly room during home improvement projects.

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care

Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients aren’t meant for four-legged consumption and can be fatal if your pet ingests them.  Always store these poisonous products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Check out our full list of garden care tips.

Poisonous Plants 

Time to let your garden grow! But beware, many popular springtime plants—including Easter lilies, rhododendron and azaleas—are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. Check out our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your home and garden.

Sneezing… Ah… Ah…. Achoo!

Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets can be allergic to foods, dust, plants and pollens. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can cause minor sniffling and sneezing as well as life-threatening anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has a springtime allergy, please visit a Lange Animal Clinic Veterinarian as soon as possible.

Bugs and Little Critters

April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program.   Ask a Lange Animal Clinic to recommend a plan designed specifically for your pet.

Outdoor Activities

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off! Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.  Canines should wear flat (never choke!) collars, please.  Lange Animal Clinic can microchip your pet for the low cost of only $39 and it is painless and provides that added security you need.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.

Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.  

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Guidance and Safety at Dog Parks

dog park

The weather is warming and more and more of us will be out and about with our pets.  As an owner of a puppy or older dog, it is important that your pet gets enough daily exercise and social activities. For the past few years, veterinarians at Lange Animal Clinic in Pekin, IL have found that more and more dog parks have been opening in neighborhoods throughout the country, making it much easier for owners to let their furry friends run and play. While dog parks can be a fun way to meet your human and canine neighbors, know that they’re not for every pup.

Dog parks are often best suited for younger dogs, who are generally more social and enjoy interacting with other puppies. If your dog is a social butterfly, read on for some expert tips on following doggy park etiquette and putting your best paw forward.

Make Sure Vaccinations Are Up-to-Date

While some dog parks are strict and require proof that dogs have current vaccinations, some are not monitored very closely.  Dr. Colleen O’Rourke states “it is critical to realize that other dogs at a dog park may be behind on vaccinations- this lead to the potential of serious health risks for other dogs and even pet owners.” Do your part to keep other dogs safe and be certain that your dog is current on his vaccinations.

The Size of a Dog Does Matter

In larger groups, large dogs and small dogs should always be separated. Even if you have a dog that is comfortable around larger dogs and enjoys playing with them, it can still be dangerous for dogs of vastly different sizes to play together. Our Veterinarians strongly encourage that you seek out dog parks that have a small dog area if you have a smaller pet.

Bring Water and Treats

Much like kids tend to get sick more often when they are around large groups of other children (McDonald’s play area), dogs can also get sick while spending time in groups. You can help keep your dog healthy by bringing your own water, treats and bowl. Dr. Gail Mercier suggests, “It’s always good to have water on hand especially on hotter days. Always avoid allowing your dog to drink from a group bowl at a dog park, as a disease is easily spread and can cause illness from any dogs that drink from the same bowl.” Keep a bottle of water and a bowl with you or in the car, and give it to your pooch when he seems thirsty.

Protect Your Dog from the Sun’s Rays

As with humans, the outdoors can pose some health hazards for your pet. If you have a short-haired or white dog, make sure to give her sunscreen.  Make certain to put it on prior to any extended play time or walks in the direct sun. Many dog parks are out in the open and have full sun, so you want to do your best to keep them from getting sunburned.  Epi-pet is the only FDA compliant dog sunscreen. If you can’t find this product, make sure that you carefully research available options, as some are toxic if ingested.

Fleas, Ticks and Other Annoying Insects

Unfortunately, fleas, ticks, bees, wasps and mosquitoes also reside in dog parks.  Dogs can end up with lots of stings and bites.  Herbal mosquito repellent is an option, but its effectiveness is debatable, as it is lacking the dangerous pesticides that are most effective on bugs.  But don’t worry, you can safeguard your pet from bug bites. Discuss flea and tick prevention options with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to learn what’s best for your four-legged friend.  Bees and wasps are a bit more challenging to manage. They tend to hide in areas with tall, overgrown grass, the same tall grass where your do is likely to stick his nose and go exploring.  Keep a flat plastic object like a credit card handy to scrape out a bee stinger (never tweeze or pull, as that will squeeze more venom into the dog) can help after a dog is stung.   If your dog gets stung numerous times, bring your dog into us immediately.

Be Responsible

Even if your dog is not normally aggressive, there is always the chance that she may bite another dog or a person. Overstimulation may cause a dog to play nip, or it may induce stress so he feels threatened. If your dog does bite, it is best to take responsibility, exchange information, offer to pay any medical expenses, and follow up.   Our veterinarians also recommend paying attention to your dog’s body language and behavior.   If your dog is actively avoiding other dogs at the park, that’s a sign that they may not be enjoying it. Be aware of any sign of your dog is showing an eagerness to exit the park. Don’t force fun on a dog, let them choose their own fun.

Clean Up

Last but not least, always clean up after your dog. Be sure to bring pick-up bags and always have enough on hand to be prepared. It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the park clean!

No matter what the season, it is fun to go play with your dog. Exploring different dog parks can keep you both you and your pup fit and healthy, and it’s a great way to expend excess energy.