Spring Has Sprung here in Australia!
With the warming weather, increase in outside adventures and escalation of play dates it’s time to do a quick clear out of the winter clutter and prep for the good times. From a deep clean to a medication check and grooming, there’s lots that can be done to ensure the well-being of pets as the weather blossoms. Dr Evan from FleaMail give us some tips on how to make this one a Spring to remember right from the get-go.
If Fido’s favourite teddy is starting to get woofy, throw a load of toys in the wash! Use an all-natural, unscented detergent, not bleach; line-dry or on low without a scented dryer sheet, and check for loose parts before returning to its owner. Dr Evan adds: “Even toys with squeakers and crinkles can make it through the washer unscathed, although let them air dry to be perfectly safe. Spring is as good a time as any to take an accounting of exactly what a pet is playing with, what a pet has heavily damaged and what has been dismissed. If you find things that your pet has not used for ages, why not make a donation to a pet rescue group?”
Over winter with everyone indoors the fluff and dust well and truly piles up especially in your little buddy’s bed. Dr Evan explains; “Like people-pillows, a pet’s bed should be renewed each 1-2 years if it contains foam or stuffing. Fleas, dust-mites and other vermin love a dirty bed as they are full of dead skin, saliva and hair which is like a buffet to a critter.” Ewwwwww!! “To deodorise and clean, a simple sprinkle of baking soda over carpet and other vacuum-able surfaces will absorb pet smells and kill bacteria. After applying, let it sit for half an hour then vacuum thoroughly, making sure to reach every nook and cranny.”
Dr Evan also urges owners to toss pet food bowls and plastic toys into the dishwasher but skip the heated dry setting to avoid a complete meltdown. For heavy duty rubber toys, he suggests a 15-minute soak in one part vinegar to two parts hot water for 15 minutes before hand scrubbing.
Dress down and Groom up.
Nothing says spring like a new hair-do and some new attire, meaning it’s time to loosen the jackets and get that hair-did! “A groom of the winter coat will help your pet regulate heat, keep them clean and combat the nasties that want to munch on your bestie,” says Dr Evan. “However, one thing that is really, really important and something that any quality groomer will tell you, is to never ever, EVER shave your dog. Now, I know you might be thinking, “but I wouldn’t like to wear a fur coat in summer.” Well, that’s true and neither would I. However, I am not a dog or a cat and one of the worst things we can actually do as humans is a thing called “anthropomorphise” them. Or in Laymans terms, give them human characteristics or behaviours. They are not little people.
For dogs especially, shaving their coat can actually make them extremely susceptible to overheating and sunburn, plus it makes them extremely uncomfortable. The main thing people need to realise is that humans have three layers of skin and most importantly we can sweat. Dogs only have two layers of skin; the third layer is their fur. It’s incredibly important to keep them safe and protected not only from heat but also from physical things like branches, other dog’s claws, the corner of the coffee table and even just rolling on the ground. Dogs also, like almost all mammals with the exception of humans, can’t sweat. Yes, they can sweat through their paws but this is not how they thermoregulate. They pant and one of the biggest tools to keep themselves cool is their fur. I always tell people to think dog’s coat like a big esky. It keeps them warm in winter and just as importantly, cool in summer.”
“Brushing your dog or cat not only makes them look dapper but it is also essential for healthy coat maintenance. Long-haired pets need brushing regularly to remove any knots or tangles that can become painful matts and poor insulators. A good old-fashioned grooming session at home is not only a great opportunity to bond with your buddy, but also to check their skin for fleas, ticks, cuts, scabs or lumps. Particularly fluffy pets should be brushed outside, where extra fur can become one with nature. It’s also fantastic for your garden.”
Health and Medication Check
Spring’s warmer weather means that fleas, ticks, and other parasites will be making an appearance soon. These pests can cause trouble for pets, especially if they spend quite a bit of time outdoors. Parasite prevention helps protect your pets from potentially serious illnesses and other health issues. Dr Evan explains, “Fleas might be more of a nuisance than a major health threat for most pets, but some have allergic reactions to flea bites. Then there are the deadly ones. Heartworm can lead to life-threatening health problems and paralysis tick just outright kills pets. Having your pet up to date with prevention is far cheaper than the cure. You might wonder if your pets even need any parasite prevention if they stay indoors all or most of the time. Keep in mind that even indoor pets get heartworm, tick and flea problems by catching parasites catching a lift on you.”
“While you are at it, if your pet is on medication you should check they are all up to scratch. Lots of factors shorten the shelf life of pet meds. There are use-by dates, of course, but also environmental factors like humidity and temperature extremes which Australia is very accustomed to. Administering medications that are degraded can have dangerous health results for your pet,” Dr Evan says. “Some may be ineffective because they’re expired.”
Now is also a good time to browse through your pet health paper to evaluate when you need to take him or her to the vet for a check-up too.
Water. Water everywhere.
And finally … Dr Evan advises; “As the weather gets hotter make sure your pets have a ready supply of clean water at all times, both in and outside. Remember to change frequently as with warmer weather bacteria build up a lot faster, which can make our little buddies quite sick. Choose a non-toxic disinfectant to ensure that you do not compromise your pet’s health and have more than once source of water per pet.”
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