March typically means springtime in Texas.  It’s my favorite time of year – the temperature ranges from the 60’s-70’s, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and squirrels seem to be everywhere.  

This year, I plan to make the most of spring. After all, before I know it, it will be in the 90’s. In the summertime, my trips outside are typically limited to exercising and walking from the car to air conditioning.  

I look forward to springtime’s late sunsets and now that winter is over, it isn’t dark out at 6pm. This means I can actually do something after a long day away from my most trusted and loveable companions – which are…you guessed it! My pets.  Ha…you’re probably thinking I should’ve said my family or my husband.  Well, I do love my husband but after a day at the office, my way of decompressing is to spend time with my rescue fur-kids: Ace, Sydney and Harold the cat.

More and more I find that on the weekend I look forward to plan some kind of activity that involves my four legged family members.  

Last weekend, for the first time in a long time, I just spent the day on the couch with them watching I can’t remember what.  We like to share the couch together. I sit in the middle with the cat on my lap while both dogs are on either end of the couch.  

However, although I enjoy a lazy day, I find it much more rewarding when I go outside and have some fun.

The first rule of having fun with your pet is to do a little planning and put it on your calendar.  

Step 1

Brainstorm some activities you would like to do together. Get a blank piece of paper and write down all the things that you can think of.  

Definitely, get some input from other pet owners on ideas as well. There are so many things that you can do – hike on a local trail, take bluebonnet pictures, go to your kid’s soccer game, enjoy an outdoor concert or go to a coffee shop or restaurant with a patio.  

One thing I see more and more is organized fundraiser walks that will often allow pets.

Step 2

Do some research – although I think that all places should be pet friendly,that is not always the case.  You should ask a local restaurant or coffee shop if they are pet friendly. Many state parks are dog friendly but it is always a good idea to check in advance.

Step 3

Be prepared – As our pet’s caretakers we need to take the responsibility to make sure that we have thought about what we bring when we are out with our pets.  Some outdoor essentials are no brainers but I have to admit that I have forgotten some pretty basic things more times than I care to remember.  

The most important thing is to make sure your pet has a current tag, a good fitting collar or–even better–a harness that they cannot escape from…

A couple of years ago I was leaving the office with Callie (16yr old) and my two three-year-old labs.  I got Sydney in the back of the car and when I tried to put Ace in the back, he pulled out of his collar and started running! Needless to say his sister, Sydney went after him.  I left Callie (the good one) by my car and chased after the other two.  

That’s when I learned this important tip – don’t run because dogs will see it as a game. I stopped, yelled treat and within 3 minutes they were by my side. I laugh now but it probably gave me more gray hairs that I would like to admit.  I highly recommend that everyone use a harness.

Your pet needs to be protected against fleas, ticks and mosquitos.  In addition to your monthly heartworm medication, I like to use added protection with a spray and a repellent collar or a topical to protect against flea, ticks and mosquitoes.

Although, Heartworm medication does much to protect your pet from heartworms, I also recommend added coverage. There are many options on the market. We like to reduce the amount of chemicals that we put on our pet. At the end of this article, I have some recommended product solutions that Natural Pawz carries.  In addition to the above, I would add hydration, treats, interactive toys (there are a lot more options these days than a chuck-it stick with a tennis ball) and travel containers to our list of essential outdoors items.

Step 4

Always read the cues of your pet.  If your pet starts panting profusely it could be from heat exhaustion or they could be anxious or nervous.  Heat exhaustion can be very dangerous for your pet and needs to be attended to immediately.

If they are anxious or nervous they may run away, snap, growl or bite — this is not typical behavior. If you pet starts to limp, it’s probably tired. Shy away from too much activity.  

If you notice that your pet starts to lick, scratch, gets hot spots or has any gunk in their ears, these are common signs of allergies.  Many pets experience allergies in the spring and the fall.  Seasonal changes may provoke allergy symptoms.  However, the environment is only one source of allergies – typically pets have an underlying food allergy. When the mold and tree pollen increase, pet parents may start to see some or all of these symptoms.  

The best way to reduce the impact of allergies is to have a plan.  This plan should include limiting ingredients from any treats, foods or anything they consume.  Secondly, you want to give your pets something that will dampen their allergic reactions – similar to what we humans do with allergy pills. Thirdly, you must treat the symptoms – keep those ears clean, use a spray to help itchy red skin and finally use a shampoo that will soothe the coat and help stop allergens from sticking to the coat.

Springtime is a wonderful time to get out and have some fun.  With a little planning and noticing the cues that your pet gives you about their wellbeing, Spring Time will be awesome!

 

Recommended Product Solutions

  • Wondercide Flea Spray (only available in Austin)  
  • Natural Chemistry Flea Spray
  • Alzoo Flea/Tick/Mosquito Topical Treatment
  • Alzoo Bug Repellant Blanket
  • Alzoo Bug Repellant Collar
  • Herbsmith Allerqui Allergy Pills
  • Microsyn Anti-Itch and Hot Spot Spray
  • The Snack-Duo (treat dispenser/water bottle travel cup)