How to Care for Your Pets as we Step into Spring
While springtime is a season enjoyed by humans and animals alike, it can also bring some potentially dangerous, or even lethal, risks to our much-loved pets. With that in mind, experts at leading animal welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home are offering seasonal tips and advice to pet owners to make sure everyone can safely enjoy the brighter days and warmer weather.
With spring came the arrival of the Easter Bunny, and while we humans may enjoy a feast of egg-shaped chocolates, our pets will not. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs and cats. The purer the chocolate, the more theobromine it tends to have.
Make sure to keep all chocolate, including cocoa powder and hot chocolate, out of reach of your pet this Easter. If they do get their paws on some, call your vet immediately.
Hot Cross Buns
In the lead up to Easter, many of us enjoy a hot cross bun or two, however, the raisins and sultanas baked within this treat are toxic to animals. The active ingredient which causes the toxin is unknown, however, both grapes and raisins may cause severe liver damage and kidney failure. These dried fruits are in many other foods too including cakes, biscuits and cereals so owners need to be extra careful when storing or eating any of these around their pets.
As soon as the evenings get lighter and the weekends get warmer, many people can be found enjoying a cool alcoholic beverage in gardens and parks. Just like humans, dogs and cats can become intoxicated by drinking alcohol. Unlike humans however, as little as a tablespoon of alcohol can lead to serious health problems for pets including liver and brain damage, so it is vital to keep drinks out of reach of curious animals.
Flowers and plants
There are many flowers and common houseplants that are poisonous to cats and dogs. Lilies, Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Bluebells and many more other plants can be harmful to our pets, especially if the plant’s bulb is ingested. Symptoms of plant poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, an increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate.
Make sure that any plant you bring home is pet-friendly, or consider spraying your plants with natural pet repellents (avoid using chemical ones). If you think your pet may have poisoning, it is vital to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Ticks are small insects that can spread diseases by transmitting bacteria and microbes when they bite. Ticks are common in woodland and other grassy areas, especially in the warmer months.
After your dog or cat has been outside, run your hands over them to check for any ticks that they may have picked up – they’re normally easy to spot. If you do find a tick, it’s important to remove it quickly, to lessen the chances of your pet catching a disease.
It is vital that a tick is removed correctly; if you squeeze the tick, or leave its head inside your pet’s body, the risk of infection is increased. It is best to use a specifically designed device to twist the tick off which can be purchased from a pet shop.
Make sure your pet is microchipped
With the longer days and sunnier weather, your dogs and cats may want to be outside more frequently or for longer periods of time. It is important to make sure they are microchipped, and their chip details are up-to-date. That way, if your dog runs away on a walk, or your cat gets a little lost while out and about, you can be reunited with them as quickly as possible. It is also a legal requirement for dogs to me microchipped and wear a collar and tag with their owners’ details on.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, or you’d like any further advice, speak to your vet as quickly as possible.
For further pet advice, please visit www.battersea.org.uk/pet-advice.