Spring is here! It's time to dust off the patio furniture and get outside... but before you do, let's talk about spring pet safety and keeping your furry friend safe this season.

As a veterinarian with BetterVet, I'm excited to share some essential tips and valuable information to help your pet enjoy the springtime safely.

Key takeaways:

  • Update parasite preventatives to protect against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
  • Avoid toxic plants and watch for signs of allergies in pets.
  • Supervise outdoor activities to ensure pet safety in spring environments.

Wellness Exams and Vaccinations

I recommend that my furry patients are seen at least once per year for a Wellness Exam and more often if you have a puppy or kitten, a senior pet, or a pet with a health condition.

During your pet’s checkup:

  • Ensure that vaccinations are up to date, including those for Lyme, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, and other vaccines tailored to your pet's lifestyle and location requirements, such as rattlesnake toxoid and the flu vaccine. For our feline friends, the feline leukemia vaccine is important for cats that spend any time outdoors..
  • Continue preventive medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
  • Make a plan for spring allergies, especially if your pet is susceptible to pollen, grasses, or weeds. Start allergy medications before allergens and symptoms are in full force to keep your pet comfortable and symptom-free.

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?
1. How frequently does your pet seem itchy?
2. Where does your pet scratch the most?
3. Which season is your pet’s symptoms the most noticeable?
4. How often does your pet seem uncomfortable?
5. Can you see any of the following symptoms on your pet’s skin?
6. Is your pet experiencing any of the following symptoms?

Does Your Pet Have Skin Allergies?

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Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is not just about the house, it also extends to your pet's environment. Refresh your home and your pet’s environment, too! 

  • Wash pet bowls and toys: Wash your pet’s food and water bowls and toys with warm, soapy water, and consider replacing them if they're old or damaged.
  • Change their bedding: Wash or replace your pet's bed and blankets to keep things clean and cozy.
  • Make your yard safe: Look for hazards like fallen branches or holes in fences. Remove any toxic plants from your yard. Talk to your neighbors to ensure they are not using poisonous weed or rodent control products that could harm your pet if used close to your yard.

Pet Identification

Spring means more outdoor adventures with your furry friend. Here's how to keep them safe with proper identification:

Spring Safety Hazards for Pets

When pets spend more time outside it introduces certain risks. Refer to the list of common spring hazards to remember:

Toxic plants

  • Azaleas & Rhododendrons: These plants induce vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, they can cause weakness, difficulty breathing, and coma.
  • Lily of the Valley: Beware of this plant's cardiac glycosides. Ingestion leads to vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, and cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Tulips & Hyacinths: Bulbs contain lactones, causing vomiting, drooling, and in severe cases, breathing and heart problems.
  • Daffodil bulbs: These blooms contain toxic alkaloids, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Severe cases may result in convulsions and cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Oleander: Consumption causes vomiting, drooling, irregular heart rate, and in some instances, collapse and death.
  • Easter lily: Toxic to cats, causing kidney failure.
  • Sago Palm: Contains cycasin, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, seizures, and death.

Cleaning supplies

  • Bleach: Can irritate skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, leading to vomiting, drooling, and abdominal pain if swallowed.
  • Ammonia: Inhalation may cause coughing, difficulty breathing, and skin and eye irritation.
  • Floor & carpet cleaners: Some contain phenols, which can trigger respiratory distress, vomiting, and skin irritation if inhaled, ingested, or in contact with skin.
  • Toilet bowl cleaners: Strong acids or alkalis may lead to mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal irritation, causing drooling, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Fertilizer and lawn products

  • Bone meal: Its appealing smell can attract pets, but ingestion in large amounts can cause gastrointestinal blockages or perforations.
  • Blood meal: Derived from dried animal blood, can lead to gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Chemical fertilizers: These contain compounds like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which can result in symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, drooling, tremors, seizures, and organ damage.
  • Iron-based fertilizers: Varieties containing sulfate or chelated iron can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and severe cases may lead to liver failure.
  • Herbicide and pesticide-containing fertilizers: These can lead to gastrointestinal upset, neurological issues, respiratory distress, and even death if ingested.


  • Permethrin: A synthetic insecticide used to control ticks and mosquitoes. Ingestion in large amounts or prolonged skin exposure can lead to drooling, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and skin irritation.
  • Bifenthrin: Another synthetic insecticide for outdoor pest control, particularly for ants, termites, and mosquitoes. Toxic to pets, it can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and difficulty breathing.
  • Malathion: An organophosphate insecticide for controlling mosquitoes and flies. Ingestion or prolonged skin exposure in pets can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  • Acephate: Used against ants, aphids, and caterpillars, it is toxic to pets if ingested or if there is prolonged skin exposure, causing drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and weakness.
  • Slug bait: The most common toxic ingredient in slug baits is metaldehyde, which is highly dangerous to dogs, cats, and other animals. Ingestion can lead to severe poisoning and even death if not treated promptly. Symptoms include tremors, seizures, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, coma and death.


While pollinating bees are vital for the environment, be cautious as some pets may be allergic. Keep Benadryl on hand and contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet shows signs of swelling, wheezing, or is having difficulty breathing.


  • Anticoagulant rodenticides: These are commonly used and work by preventing blood clotting, leading to internal bleeding and potential death. Examples include warfarin, bromadiolone, brodifacoum, and difethialone. Pets that ingest them may not show immediate symptoms, but signs of toxicity can include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, and bleeding from the gums or nose.
  • Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) rodenticides: These cause hypercalcemia in rodents, leading to organ failure. If ingested by pets, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, weakness, lethargy, kidney failure, and ultimately death.
  • Bromethalin: This affects the central nervous system of rodents, leading to brain swelling and death. If ingested by pets, symptoms may include seizures, muscle tremors, paralysis, difficulty breathing, and potentially death.
  • Zinc phosphide: Ingestion of this substance releases toxic phosphine gas in the stomach of rodents, leading to respiratory and circulatory failure. Pets may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and potentially death.

Hassle-free In-Home Pet Sick Visits

When your pet isn't feeling well, the last thing you want is a stressful trip to the vet. Our in-home sick pet visits offer a calm, stress-free alternative.

Spring Pet Health Care Tips

As the season changes, it’s important to adjust your pet's exercise and grooming routines. 

Ease into exercise

Remember, your pet has been less active during the colder months, so Spring is a great time to get back into their exercise routine. Start slow with shorter walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time to avoid injuries.

Groom regularly to manage shedding

As it gets warmer, your pet sheds their winter fur. Brushing them regularly stops tangles and mats, making them comfy and keeping their skin healthy. 

Clean paws after being outside

After outdoor play, clean your pet's paws to remove dirt and allergens. This helps prevent skin irritation and allergy symptoms.

Spring Storm Preparedness

Spring storms can catch us off guard, so it's important to be prepared, especially when it comes to your pet's safety. In my practice, I recommend:

  • A pet first aid kit
  • A pet supply bag with bowls, toys, & blankets
  • Microchip & ID information
  • Anti-anxiety medication for anxious pets
  • Prescription medication with a few days’ supply 
  • Extra food & water for a few days
  • Important documents in case you need to evacuate, including vaccination records and pertinent medical history
  • An evacuation plan, if needed

Holiday Pet Safety Tips in Spring

While spring brings joy and holidays like Easter, remember that not all fun is pet-friendly. Here are some key tips for a happy and safe holiday season for your pet.

  • Spring and Easter decorations: Keep them out of reach to prevent pets from chewing on them.
  • Easter chocolates: Keep all chocolate treats away from pets, as chocolate is highly toxic.
  • Easter eggs: Remember to collect all hidden eggs after the hunt, especially those containing chocolate or small items.
  • Toxic foods: Be careful with Easter meals and cookouts, avoiding foods like onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and anything containing xylitol, as they are highly toxic to pets.
  • Toxic plants: Watch out for plants like Easter Lily and Lily of the Valley, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, and even death if ingested by pets.


Spring is a time of sunshine and outdoor adventures, but it can also bring unexpected hazards for our furry friends. That's why we offer stress-free home visits where you can ask any questions about your pet's health.

Contact us today to schedule a virtual consultation or in-home Wellness Exam.

Get Your Pet’s Health Checked Out at Home

Say goodbye to stressful vet visits and hello to a comfortable wellness exam in your pet's favorite spot.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare my dog for spring?

Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, gradually increase exercise, and clean paws after outdoor adventures.

Is spring cleaning safe for pets?

Spring cleaning is generally safe, but certain cleaners are not. Watch out for cleaning products with hazardous chemicals and keep them out of reach.

How often should I visit the veterinarian in spring?

Your pet should be seen by a veterinarian at least once per year, but should be checked if vaccinations need to be updated and to address any seasonal concerns. And if you notice sudden symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, it's best to seek veterinary care right away.

How can I help my pet with seasonal allergies?

Minimize allergens by vacuuming regularly, bathing your pet often, and washing bedding frequently. Consult your veterinarian for help managing allergy symptoms and to discuss treatment options.

What should I do if my pet ingested something toxic?

If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate, a poisonous plant, or anything else harmful, don't wait; seek veterinary care immediately. Keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, unusual behavior, or breathing difficulties.