Springtime safety tips for pet owners

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Yay! It’s sunny. It’s 70 degrees. It won’t get dark here until 7:29 p.m. And I’m… stuck inside, working. Actually it’s taken me the better part of an hour to come up with an idea for today’s post.

So I decided to go with the obvious. Warm weather and springtime safety tips for pet owners.

Exercise some common sense

When it comes to warm weather, pets and people aren’t all that different. We all want to be outside, having fun. And we can all get a bit carried away.

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In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But while we are responsible  — and know there are consequences for — rash decisions, our pets don’t. So it’s up to us to look out for them.  It’s our responsibility to learn the signs that our furry friends are in physical discomfort or distress. Some of the symptoms are obvious, but because dogs and cats are also adept at hiding weaknesses, some aren’t so obvious. Don’t leave anything to chance… talk to your vet about what to look out for.

While you’re at it, have a frank discussion with the vet or another expert about your pet’s outdoor activities. If you’re going to let your cat romp around the neighborhood or leave your dog outside on its own for prolonged periods (something I personally recommend against) learn how to make the environment as safe and comfortable as possible. Find out:

  • How to create an “escape proof” yard.
  • What type of shelter to buy or build.
  • How to mitigate any hazards posed by other animals.
  • How to ensure your pet has access to food and water.
  • How to make sure your pet can be readily identified if it goes missing.

Taking these precautions is largely a matter of common sense. On the other hand, failing to take them could cause a lot of trouble. In Connecticut, for example, failing to provide proper shelter for an outdoor pet can result in animal cruelty charges.

Keep hazardous items out of reach

According to the ASPCA, a litany of springtime items pose a threat to our pets. These include:

  •  Easter candy and decorations
  • The ingredients in lawn and garden chemicals,
  • The plants and flowers that will soon appear in our gardens
  • household cleaning products that we’ll use to get rid of winter funk

Keeping these items out of reach is key to keeping our pets safe at this time of year. But if you do have reason to believe your pet has swallowed a harmful substance, it is crucial to call your own vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

A cat may be able to land on its feet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get hurt

Before you yield to temptation and throw the windows wide open, the ASPCA also recommends checking all of the screens. Make sure they aren’t ripped or torn, and make sure they are well secured, the organization recommends. This is especially important for cat owners — after all, your cat may be able to withstand a fall from a significant height — but that doesn’t mean he or she will come out of it completely unscathed.

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