Preparing Your Pets for Spring

Spring is a time for dealing with all the remnants of winter, the dreaded spring cleaning of your home but don’t forget your pet! With warmer weather just around the corner, do you know how to prepare your pet for spring? Here is our Pet Expert checklist for the upcoming season:

Grooming

With the weather warming up you will start to notice your pets (cats & dogs) shedding much more. Out with the old heavy, fuzzy undercoats and in with new sleek fur. As the weather changes your pet is losing its winter coat, even inside-only cats will do this. To help cut down on this shedding, regularly brush your pet’s coat with a de-shedding tool. Furminator tools are a great choice for this. They work incredibly well at taking out the undercoat from both cats and dogs, even shorthaired breeds. To better loosen the hair, give your pet a bath and really scrub them with your hands against the hair growth. Once dry, give them a good brushing and you will be amazed at the hair that comes off.

Remember: people shampoos and conditioners are made for people not pets and can actually harm them (They have sensitivities that we don’t!).

Here are some tips to help with your spring grooming:

  1. If the coat looks dry, apply a gentle pet conditioner.
  2. For dry and flaky skin use an oatmeal based pet shampoo.
  3. Salt, snow and cold can cause paws to crack, apply a moistening ointment if necessary.
  4. Check and make sure ears are clean and have no sign of ear mites. DO NOT use Q-tips, the best option is liquid ear cleaners.
  5. Brush, Brush, Brush! But be gentle when working out those pesky knots. Brush against the grain to remove hair and with it to smooth out the coat.
  6. Don’t forget to trim your pet’s nails. If you are not comfortable doing them yourself, take them into a groomer or vet and have them done. You can also check your local store for nail trimming days!

Washing Your Pet’s Toys & Bedding

The winter also brings a fair bit of dust into our homes, and with keeping windows shut your pet’s favourite items become stale. Bedding and fabric toys can be run through the washing machine, while leashes, collars and plastic toys should be hand washed in hot, soapy water.

Seasonal Allergies

Just like people, many pets get seasonal allergies.  Pets have very similar symptoms for allergies: watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, itching or sneezing.  These symptoms are inflammatory based, the same as in humans. Luckily, there are things we can do to ease our pet’s allergies.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acid is beneficial for overall health, and can help decrease inflammation in your pet’s body. Salmon oil is a great way to add more Omega-3 to your pet’s diet.
  2. Coconut Oil is another natural additive that can ease symptoms of allergies. Coconut oil contains something called “lauric acid” that helps decrease the production of yeast and in turn stops or reduces inflammation.
  3. Bathing also helps by getting rid of airborne allergens that may have attached themselves to your pet.

Pests

Warm weather also signals the beginning of pest season. Fleas, ticks, biting flies and mosquitos are starting to come back for the season and with them bring annoyance and illnesses for many pets (and people!).  In many areas, if not continued year-round, it is time to begin heartworm prevention. Your vet will be able to give you the best type and dosage for your pet. Commonly, these preventatives also help with other pests too.

Fleas and ticks can carry many parasites that can seriously harm your pet, so it is important to treat this at the first signs. Fleas can cause pets to suffer allergic reactions and skin problems, anemia, tapeworm, rickettsiosis and cat scratch disease. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some of these diseases can be transmitted to people from fleas and ticks, and some can be transmitted from pets to people. Zodiac offers many options for flea and tick prevention and treatment and can be used alongside your heartworm preventative. Ask our Pet Experts about the best product for your pet.

By Michelle Edmundston

2014 Gift Guide

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