Springtime care for your pets

Spring is in the air, and with the winter behind us it's time to look forward to better weather (we hope!). Here are a few tips and reminders to help you have happy dogs and cats through the warmer months.
Puppy and kitten lounging on the floor facing the camera.

Spring cleaning

As the weather gets warmer, dogs and cats will moult a lot more than usual shedding their extra warm fur for their lighter coat. It's a good idea to pick up a regular grooming program for all that excess hair. This is good for your pet (fewer hairballs) and should result in less hair to clean up.

Planning for holidays

Now is a very good time to make sure your pet's vaccination status is up to date if you're planning on putting them in kennels or catteries when you're taking your summer break. If you have a dog you should consider the kennel cough vaccine - read more about that later. If you haven't used a kennel or cattery before, make sure you take a look around a few to assure they meet your expectations.

Owners who would like to take their pets abroad with them might be pleased to hear that the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has been changed so that dogs and cats (and ferrets) entering or re-entering the UK from EU listed countries now only need to wait for 21 days before travelling and a blood sample after vaccinating for rabies is no longer required.

If you need an EU Pet Passport start getting everything you need together in good time for your application to be processed and any necessary vaccinations to be carried out. Learn more about pet travel from the gov.uk site

Watch out

We covered off quite a few Dangers for Dogs last year, including the toxic nature of chocolate and dried fruit - but there are also quite a few hazards in the garden to be aware of, should you be planning a springtime garden makeover.


With 2014's recent warm, wet winter the British garden is set to see a huge increase in slugs and snails. These beasties can carry the larvae of the lungworm parasite which, if swallowed (by enthusiastic dogs with a taste for French haute cuisine or who like to lick the snail or slug's slime trail), can migrate to your pet's heart where they develop into a very nasty parasite which can be fatal. Ensuring your dog is protected is easy via spot-on treatments. Ask your vet for more information or pop into a pet shop.

Slug pellets

Should you want to get rid of these slugs and snails you might want to think about using pellets to control them as the Metaldehyde within the blue or green pesticides are extremely toxic for your pets. Take care not to let your pets near where you're laying them and think about using a covered (so that your dog isn't tempted to slurp up some nasties) beer trap for the slimy garden pests instead.

Cocoa shell mulch

This is often used in flower beds by gardeners but, as with chocolate, this contains theobromine - which is poisonous to pets. Tree bark is a safer alternative.

Kennel cough

Dogs of all ages can catch this nasty illness from each other, especially if they come into close contact with many other dogs. Young and elderly dogs are more likely to suffer from extreme symptoms which can include coughing (which can get worse with exercise), breathlessness, high temperature, lack of energy and loss of appetite. Vaccinations for kennel cough is available - usually in the form of nasal drops. You'll need to start this treatment ten days before you put your dog in kennels to make sure they're fully protected.

Fleas and ticks

Although not limited to warm weather, fleas and ticks can be more common as pets get out and about more in the spring and summer. Treatments are easy to come by for dogs and cats - but be careful to use dog and cat specific treatments on pets as Permethrin (used in dog treatments) is extremely toxic to cats and can be fatal.

Get insured

Taking out pet insurance can make all the difference to your pet's happiness and your wallet after a visit to the vet. Learn more about our great value Pet Insurance.

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