Spring Strategies for Our Pets

While spring-cleaning is great for our houses, our pets also appreciate a little spring brush-up.

Let’s start with food and treats. Chances are you have been using the same brand/flavor of food for the past few months. This is a good time to mix it up. Rotating through different flavors in the same brand helps keep your pet interested in its food and it also can prevent an allergic reaction to certain ingredients. Animals that are exposed to the same protein, for example, can develop an allergy to that protein. Rotating through different flavors or brands can prevent that.

A great treat to bring in during the spring months are raw bones for your dog. The possibilities are extensive, with recreational bones such as beef or bison femur bones, and edible bones which are the hollow, non weight-bearing bones of birds (chicken wings, chicken and turkey necks). These are soft and pliable and don’t contain marrow. A couple of cautions: Marrow is fatty and can add calories so be sure to decrease your pet’s regular food slightly when you give a femur bone. If your dog is a particularly aggressive chewer it can sometimes chip or fracture a tooth so watch carefully the first couple of times you give the bone. These are generally outdoor treats since once they thaw they can become pretty juicy.

If your cat loves to be outdoors but you don’t want to run the risk of him getting lost or worse, a great option is to cat-proof your backyard. I’ve done this with my yard and my cats have free run of the yard and I have peace of mind knowing they’re safe and secure. The company I used was Cat-man-do, which was started by John Kuepper in 2005. He has a website at catman-do.com where you can see different types of enclosures and fencing used to fortify your yard.

With this being the season when pesticides and fertilizers are put on grasses in yards and parks, be sure to keep your pets safe from exposure. First, don’t let them chew on or eat any grass that has been treated. If your dog has been walking on any treated grass, be sure to wipe their feet and bellies with a wet washcloth to remove any residue. This will ensure they’re not ingesting any chemicals when they clean themselves.

This is a great time of year to remove all that extra fur your pet has put on to keep warm during the winter months. Be sure to use the right grooming tool for your cat or dog, whether a comb or brush or safety scissors to keep their extra hair trimmed.

Exercise is a great deal easier during these next warmer months. If your exercise program is getting into high gear, so can your pet’s. Toys such as Da Bird or peacock feathers are great for getting your cat into jumping mode and can help them shed a few winter weight pounds. For your dog, just being outside can increase his activity level. If you’re a runner and so is your dog, now is the time to get them on a regular schedule as long as you don’t overdo it or take them out on hot days. Swimming is a great non weight-bearing exercise for those dogs that don’t do well on long walks or runs.

Whatever your spring season looks like, be sure to include your pets. They’ll look better and feel better.

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