Pet Care Tips

Seasonal Pet Care Tips

As each season arrives, lots of different opportunities to enjoy it and have fun with your pet unfold. However, there are also situations that may arise which present danger as well. Here are some seasonal tips to keep in mind that will hopefully prevent any mishaps or misfortunes.


Spring & Summer

Pools/Lakes: Never leave your pet attended when they are swimming and always make sure they have an easy way out or the pool is enclosed and inaccessible. When enjoying lakes and ponds together, avoid swimming where blue-green algae is present as this can be toxic for your pet.


Fishing Tackle: Colorful stinky fishing lures are very tempting to cats, dogs and birds and can be very dangerous. Hooks are usually barbed and cannot be backed out until the barb is removed. Never try to remove these hooks on your own. Seek veterinary help to prevent tissue trauma.


Pick- up Trucks: Dogs love to feel the wind in their faces but uncovered truck beds are a very dangerous place for your pet. Sudden stops or turns can throw your pet from the truck and can cause a major injury resulting from a fall or by being hit by an oncoming car. Additionally, there is a lot of debris and insects moving at high velocities that can cause eye injuries. It is best if your pet is secured inside your truck.


Cars: Never leave your pet unattended in your car. While it is never a good season to leave a pet in a car attended, summer can be particularly deadly. Don't lull yourself into a false sense of security by leaving the window open. It never takes long for heat to rise and your pet to suffer from heat stroke.


Heat Stroke: This is very serious condition and you should always seek medical care as soon as possible. It doesn't always take much on a warm day for a dog or cat to experience heat stroke. If your pet is spending the day outside, make sure they have a cool, shaded place to rest and that fresh water is always available. Keep in mind that heat stroke can also happen indoors if the temperature gets too high. If your pet experiences a heat related issue cover them with a cool wet towel and transport to your veterinarian immediately. 


Bite Wounds: Many of the dogs enjoying your local dog parks are harmless, but when faced with certain conditions any dog can turn suddenly and bite.

  • Stay close to your pet.
  • Introduce your dog to other dogs and watch their responses.
  • If all is friendly, then it is safe to let them play.
  • If any type of aggression is shown, take your dog to another part of the park and find a new playmate.
  • Do not try to break up a fight by getting in the middle. Use leashes or water to separate the dogs.
  • If you or your pet receives a bite wound, seek medical help to prevent infection and repair any damage.


Windows: Whether you live in a private home or an apartment, you'll be tempted to open windows to let in the fresh air. Be sure to keep screens or protective bars on your windows to prevent your pets from escapes or falls. Bird owners should make sure their feathered friends are protected from drafts.


Lawn Care: Lawn chemicals can be very toxic if ingested. Try to keep your pet off new fertilized lawns for 24 hours. Always save the original bag for later reference if ingestion occurs. If your pet does ingest these chemicals, contact your veterinarian, ASPCA, or us at Veterinary Emergency Service & Veterinary Specialty Center.


Spring Clean-ups: Keep all household cleaners and chemicals out of reach of your pets.


Toxin Reminders:

  • Cocoa bean mulch
  • Chocolate (semi-sweet and dark), the higher the level of cocoa the greater the toxicity
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Baby food containing onion powder or garlic
  • Alcohol
  • Almonds
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee grounds
  • Raw cloves of garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Tobacco
  • Xylitol


Fall & Winter

Antifreeze: Even very small amounts can be dangerous to your pet.  Symptoms might not show up for a few days, and then it may be too late.  Store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and in a place pets can't reach.  Clean up any spills immediately and thoroughly.  When opening a vacation home for the season, do not let pets drink from the toilet if you have winterized with antifreeze.  


Hypothermia: If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet.  Despite their fur, pets are just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as people.  Never leave a pet outdoors for prolonged periods of time during the cold weather.  


Paw Pads: They can become irritated from salt and other chemical agents.  If necessary, booties or commercial pad protectants can be used when outside. Wipe and dry your pet's paws after being outdoors.  Use pet-friendly ice melts when possible.


Chocolate: Even though it is a year-round threat, it is usually more accessible during the holidays, so beware.  


Holiday Treats & Decorations: Alcoholic beverages, candy, turkey and fatty foods can be dangerous to your pet's health.  it's important to keep your pet on its regular diet during the holidays as they can cause serious illness in your pet.  Tinsel, glass ornaments, spray-on snow, ribbons, wrapping, or anything a pet can swallow is also dangerous.  Try to hide electric cords to prevent pets from chewing on them.  Also, do not tie ribbons around your pet's neck or limbs.  


Poisonous Plants: Poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, philodendron and dieffenbachia are plants that are toxic to pets and should be placed out of their reach. 


Antidepressants: These are used more often this time of year to help humans battle the blues and combat the cold and dark months ahead.  Be certain to keep these and all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of your pet's reach. 

Pet Poison Tips

There are many toxins and chemicals that can prove to be deadly to your pet. Every pet owner should keep emergency contact numbers posted near a phone in case of emergency.


If your pet has ingested a foreign object or substance DO NOTHING until you have contacted your regular vet, the emergency clinic or one of the pet poison hotlines. Some chemicals are very caustic and can cause more damage if the pet is made to vomit. Likewise, some will not react well with such things as milk or antacids, while some may go down easily but may not vomit easily, leading to a blocked airway.


VES/VSC keeps a vast library of pet poisons and toxins. Do not hesitate to call us for guidance.


For more information on how to care for your pet, visit these sites: