Keep your dog safe this spring

The evenings are getting lighter, the birds are singing a little louder and the flowers are starting to emerge. It can only mean one thing… spring is on the way!

March, April and May are popular months for many and can seem fairly harmless, however it’s important to be mindful of the hazards they can bring about to our furry friends! Our nutrition team have put together a helpful list of top tips on how your dog can have fun and stay safe as we head into spring.

1. Chocolate

By now most of us know chocolate is toxic for dogs, and if consumed, it will affect the central nervous system, the heart and the kidneys. With Easter fast approaching, there’s bound to be some yummy chocolatey goodies in your home.
We recommend that you store chocolate away in a secure kitchen cupboard that’s out of reach of your fur-baby. It’s also a good idea to politely remind family members not to give your dog chocolate or any kind of sweet treats that are for humans only!
This doesn’t mean they have to miss out – why not buy them a dog-friendly Easter egg? Or better yet, a box of our tasty, natural treats!

2. Easter egg packaging

With Easter on the horizon, we will see more and more packaging around the home from Easter eggs and other sweet treats. This packaging can pose a serious choking hazard to dogs, especially items such as balls of foil that may have been scrunched together after an egg has been eaten.
When you are finished with your packaging or rubbish, put it straight in the appropriate bin to ensure your pup has no access to it. If you are still eating your Easter goodies, then make sure you keep them up high out of the way of inquisitive dogs!

3. Bulbs and plants

Isn’t it lovely to see all the new bulbs and plants emerging from the ground? Whilst it’s great to enjoy them, there are many we need to keep an eye on. Plants (and their bulbs) such as daffodils, lilies and rhododendron can be highly poisonous to dogs if eaten.
Try to grow “dog-safe” plants in your garden and avoid toxic plants like daffodils, and on walks make sure to keep your dog away from any plants and bulbs.

4. Grapes, raisins and sultanas

Dried fruits like grapes, raisins and sultanas are common in most households, but no matter what time of year, it’s important we keep them away from hungry dogs; these foods can be toxic, even if consumed in small doses!
We suggest trying to keep foods like this out of the house altogether, or if your family like to have them stocked in the kitchen cupboards, ensure they are consumed away from your four-legged friend.

5. Easter toys

It’s not unheard of for dogs to steal the children’s toys! But if a toy isn’t made for dogs, it may have parts to it that are a choke hazard. For example, a toy rabbit may have plastic eyes or a voice box in the paw which dogs can easily remove, or those small chicks which your pup could quite easily pick up and choke on.
It’s a good idea to speak with your little ones and make sure they are aware to keep their toys in a safe place away from the pooch. Teach your dog the “leave” command and make sure you don’t create a game by trying to chase or play tug of war to get the toy!

6. Onions, garlics and leeks

With the weather still quite fresh and brisk, a nice stew or roast dinner is not uncommon at the dining room table. But common ingredients like onions or leeks can be toxic if ingested!
Keep all chopping and peelings on the kitchen side, away from hungry mouths and dispose of them safely into the bin. Make sure if you have any family visiting, they are aware of the foods that may be toxic to your dog and discourage giving any titbits off the table.

7. Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in sweets and other foods)

At this time of year, the supermarket shelves are stocked with sweets and chocolate ready for Easter! However, many sweet treats contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which can be highly toxic if consumed.
Be sure to keep all sweet goodies in a high-up kitchen cupboard that your pooch cannot get access to!

8. Grass

Now grass alone isn’t necessarily toxic to dogs. Many of our four-legged friends can be seen “grazing” on fresh, spring shoots. This is thought to be because dogs are both omnivorous and opportunistic scavengers! However, be cautious if they are eating grass that has been treated chemically with weed killer, as chemicals like these could be harmful to your dog.
Although your dog may enjoy a quick snack of grass out on a walk, be mindful of where they are eating it. Try to teach your dog a “leave” command or an “away” command so they know when to leave something alone.

9. Puddles and pools of water

It’s so important that your pup has constant access to fresh, clean water. However, with the heavy rain we’ve had recently, some cheeky pooches will try to drink from puddles on walks. It’s important to discourage this behaviour as puddles may harbour germs and are likely to be very dirty, especially if situated in a carpark or on a footpath!
Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times! If going on a walk, take a “dog bottle” with you so you can offer a drink when they need it.

We hope this helps you to know what to look out for with the brighter months appearing, and remember if you are ever concerned about your dog to always seek veterinary advice in the first instance! From all at Naturediet, we wish you a fun-filled and safe spring period!