A corgi running through a field of yellow dandelions.

Safety Tips for Dogs in Spring

Welcome to our series “Canine Safety Central” that’s all about keeping your favorite dog safe. We’ll explore a variety of situations throughout the series and provide tips on how to help keep your dog and everyone around them safe and healthy. In this post, we talk about spring safety tips for your dog.

Ah, springtime. The season of warmer weather and longer days that bring with them April showers, spring flowers and much more outdoor time. But springtime can also be dangerous for dogs because it brings with it some potential hazards around your home and garden. Here are some tips for pet parents to help keep their canine cuties safe as the warmer months begin.

Start Spring with Careful Cleaning

Many people like to get a fresh start with some spring cleaning. It’s time to brush away the cobwebs, clean under the couch and wipe all the nose prints off the windows. To keep your dog safe during your deep clean, always use cleaning products according to their label directions. You should also keep your dog out of the area being cleaned until surfaces are dry, and store cleaning products out of your fur kids’ (and human kids’) reach.

If you’re done with your spring cleaning and you’re ready to let some fresh air into your house, make sure you put the window screens back in and that all of the screens are secure. You don’t want your dog pressing their nose against a window that isn’t there now!

Avoid These Plants in Your Spring Garden

Cleaning products aren’t the only poisons that your dog could be exposed to — some flowers can be toxic to dogs. Several toxic compounds can be found concentrated in tulip and hyacinth bulbs. Dogs that chew on or eat these bulbs can experience mouth and throat irritation, which results in profuse drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog eats a large number of tulip or hyacinth bulbs, more severe symptoms can occur like an increased heart rate and changes in breathing.

Daffodils contain a compound in the bulb, leaves and flowers (the bulb is the most poisonous part) that triggers vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and irregular heart rhythms. Lily of the valley can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, abnormal heart beats and possibly seizures.

Before you plant anything, be sure to check out ASPCA’s toxic and nontoxic plants list and Pet Poison Helpline’s poisons database. You’ll want to remove or avoid planting flowers that are highly toxic, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, oleanders, sago palms and yews, just in case your curious canine decides to eat or chew on them.

Take Care with Lawn and Garden Care

Other poisons to watch out for are those used to care for lawns and gardens. Most fertilizers cause only mild digestive system irritation, but some can have deadly effects if left untreated. It’s likely that your dog is going to get excited over the pungent smell of blood meal and bone meal, but if they do more than sniff blood meal it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and severe pancreatitis. Bone meal can form a large, cement-like ball in their stomach that blocks food movement. So keep your dog inside when you’re applying potentially hazardous substances like fertilizers, weed killers (herbicides) or products that kill insects (insecticides) so your dog doesn’t get accidentally sprayed or lick the product after it’s been applied.

If Poisoning Is a Possibility, Don’t Delay

If you know that your dog has been exposed to something poisonous, it’s important to contact your veterinarian or another veterinary service immediately. Even if you only suspect that your dog has been exposed to something that’s potentially toxic, contact your veterinary clinic or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for advice and appropriate treatment, or call the Pet Poison Helpline (1-855-764-7661) or ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435). Contacting your vet immediately may save your dog’s life.

Tell Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes to Buzz Off!

Warm, sunny weather likely means that you and your pets will be spending more time doing activities outdoors. And you won’t be alone. Warm weather brings out fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, too. Fleas are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs, and they can transmit immature tapeworms to unsuspecting pets. Ticks can carry the microorganisms that cause several diseases, some of which can be dangerous, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Mosquitoes can carry and transmit a parasite that causes heartworm disease, which can cause heart failure and even death if left untreated. So make sure your pet’s heartworm, flea and tick preventatives are up-to-date.

An interior graphic detailing the issues that fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can cause on dogs.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass in the Spring?

No one knows for sure why dogs eat grass, but there are few theories. Some potential reasons include soothing an upset stomach, wanting more fiber in their diet or just liking the taste and texture of grass. That last theory may be why some dogs eat more grass in spring than other times of the year — the new, lush green grass is tasty for them to eat.

Seasonal Allergies Are Nothing to Be Sneezed At

Some people don’t need a calendar to let them know spring has arrived: their itchy eyes and endless sneezes do that for them. But it’s not just humans who suffer from seasonal allergies — if your dog is constantly itching and scratching, they may be suffering from allergies, too. Signs of environmental allergies in dogs include excessive scratching, nonstop licking or chewing on paws, lots of rubbing, and scooting on their you-know-what.

All that scratching and chewing can lead to skin damage, hair loss, a stinky odor and bacterial or yeast infections. Spring ear infections or issues with asthma (called allergic bronchitis in dogs) can also be a sign that your dog has environmental allergies. Allergic bronchitis is usually triggered by an allergic reaction to something in the environment. Keep in mind that dogs can suffer from allergies year round, not just spring allergies. Check out this article for tips on how to help your itchy dog.

Woo Hoo! Dog Park Visits Are Back

The sunny days may have your dog headed back to the park to play with their friends, so it’s a good idea to brush up on your dog park etiquette. Before you go, give your dog a refresher course on basic obedience commands so they will listen to you amid the park pandemonium. When you arrive, make sure the park is safe and that a gap in the fence hasn’t appeared over the winter. Watch your dog’s behavior with other dogs so you can interrupt playtime if things are getting a little rambunctious.

Wildlife Like Warmer Weather, Too

As you get out and about again, you may notice that wildlife is becoming more active too. While some wild animals look like cute furry friends, wildlife and pets don’t mix well. If you’re walking your dog, it’s safest to keep them on a leash. That way they don’t run off chasing a rabbit or squirrel, and a coyote or bear doesn’t chase them! A chance encounter with wildlife is also a good reason to make sure your dog’s vaccinations and parasite control are up-to-date. Wildlife can spread parasites and diseases including rabies, which without preventive vaccination can prove fatal.

Enjoy Spring Knowing You’ve Made Pet Safety a Priority

Springtime is a fun time for most dogs and their pet parents because they’re getting back into the great outdoors and enjoying sunny walks and balmy weather. Just make sure you keep your dog safe from the potential dangers that spring can bring.


The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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