dog walking through sand

Spring

We just got a slight glimpse of spring that we are all so eagerly anticipating, and with our return to the wonderful outdoors with out pets, there are a lot of seasonal preparations we need to make.

Many people think boots are for winter, and they would be right. Boots are necessary for many pets to enjoy a walk outdoors in winter. But boots can also make our lives easier in spring.

There are many brands of boots that are not insulated for use in spring to keep dog paws clean and dry. Yup, galoshes for pets. The most popular are the balloon type boots. Easy to put on, easy to remove, and they keep the feet clean and dry.

If boots are not in your wheelhouse, then there are a number of options for cleaning a dog’s paws upon coming in from a muddy walk. Some people use a small pail or pan with water in it, and a towel. Simple, effective solution. For those more gadget oriented, there are “paw washers”.

There are many different designs, but the main idea is they have a jar big enough for the dog’s paw to be inserted into, which is half filled with water. Some have bristles in them, some don’t, but the main idea is to rinse off as much mud as you can with the water in the jar. Then you dry the paws off, with much less mud attached.

Whether you use a paw washer or a pail/tray, drying the paws can be an issue. Even if they are clean, you don’t want wet paws leaving tracks all over your floors. There are many options again for this, from a simple hand towel to fluffy microfibre mitts with strands that grab the remaining water and mud, and are easily tossed in the washer to clean. They also make mats of this material, which can help minor episodes of wet feet just with the dog walking across them.

The other springtime worry is ticks. We don’t know yet if this is going to be a good or bad tick season, but it is generally better to prepare for the worst.

The are large amounts of new data coming out about pesticides and oral medications than have been marketed for dog tick control. Most of this data is not good, linking certain products to issues including severe neurological disorders. Please consult with your veterinarian to make sure you know all of the potential side effects any medication they recommend may have.

If you decide to avoid the prescription or chemical route, there are many botanical products that have been found effective by many pet owners. Natural methods may not be as effective as chemical ones, but they are generally much safer. Doing your research now can make sure you are ready to go when tick season starts.

Natural methods include sprays, collars, medallions, shampoos, or even food supplements. The idea is to create an environment that the ticks will avoid. Most centre on essential oils, like rose germanium or citronella, and many will be a blend of a number of oils. There are silicone collars with these oils infused in them, giving a continuous replenishment of the scents. Because there are so many options, it is best to research, and ask people what has worked for them. These are things you need to do in advance, not the night before your first trip to the lake.

Here’s hoping spring is truly around the corner.

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