Spring is a time we start to get out and about with our dogs more, with warmer, longer and brighter days to enjoy long countryside walks and relaxing in the garden. But there are a few hazards to be aware of this Spring that could be dangerous for your dog. Sean McCormack, Head Vet at tailored pet nutrition company tails.com, has put together a list of the top 5 things you need to be aware of this spring to keep your dog safe.
For many of us Easter means lots of chocolate, but take care that your dog doesn’t eat your bounty. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs and can cause severe illness and serious heart problems. The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more theobromine it’s likely to contain and therefore the more likelihood of toxic effects. So even a tiny amount of dark chocolate could cause issues in a small dog. If your dog has eaten your Easter egg, the best advice is to call your vet and read the ingredient details on the packaging to them so they can advise on what to do.
It’s really important to take care when walking your dogs near farmland, as livestock can be wary around dogs they’re unfamiliar with. If your dog runs after sheep or lambs at this time of year, it can cause serious harm and even legal action if damage is done. Cattle can act aggressively around dogs, especially when they have calves. So it’s best to keep your dog on a lead around livestock and avoid crossing fields that contain animals.
Many garden plants and flowers we bring into the home during Spring can actually be harmful to dogs, especially if ingested. Puppies in particular are common culprits for eating things they shouldn’t, but older dogs with a taste for chewing grass may also eat unusual plants. Lots of Spring bulbs including Daffodils, Hyacinths and Tulips are harmful if eaten. Other potentially toxic garden plants in full bloom around this time of year include foxgloves, bleeding hearts, bluebells, hellebores and crocuses.
See the full list of poisonous plants here.
The longer days often tempt us out to tackle the garden for the upcoming year ahead, with many choosing to use weedkillers, slug pellets, pesticide sprays and other chemicals which can poison our pets. Take extra care not to use these in areas of your own garden your dog can access, or to leave containers in easy access where your dog may chew them up through boredom. Similarly, take care not to allow your dog roam into neighbouring gardens where they may come in contact with dangerous chemicals.
Wasps, bees and other biting or stinging insects can be a hazard at this time of year, with some dogs reacting quite badly to a sting. The most common area for dogs to be bitten or stung is on the nose or face as they investigate. This can result in considerable swelling and can be very alarming as well as painful. The best advice is to get your dog to the vet if you notice swelling, discomfort or pain, where they can be treated and have their symptoms relieved.