We all have our preferred seasons, but with the positives of each, also comes some negatives. For example, the number of mosquitoes that appear in the summer, or the achy joints in winter. It’s no different for your dog – maybe they love running through the fields of flowers in spring, or playing in piles of red and yellow leaves in fall?!
We have put together a few common issues your dog faces at different times of the year, and what you can do about them. With spring coming up, let’s start with the lovely flower-blooming season...
The bloom of beautiful flowers, unfortunately, correlates with the onset of allergies such as hay fever. The chances are, your dog also enjoys the blooms of daisies and dahlias, too! They look and smell nice, and for some pups, they are fun obstacles to run through and tackle! But pollen and grass are allergens for many of our canine companions, which can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of hay fever can include itchiness, sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes. Rashes may even appear from the itching, particularly on their feet and face. When a dog's skin is irritated, they can gnaw and scratch until the areas are open and sore, increasing the risk of infection.
Luckily, hay fever and allergies are easy to handle. There are medications (antihistamines) available from the veterinarian, which can relieve your dog of the symptoms associated with pollen and grass allergies. Meanwhile, you can do things to keep your dog more comfortable. Give them a cool bath, trim their coat if it's long, and try to restrict their time outdoors to prevent direct contact with pollen.
Certain flowers that are popular in spring can actually be toxic for dogs if they eat any of it. When you encounter these plants, let your dog look, but no touching! Plants that you should keep your curious friend away from include daffodils, bluebells and ivy.
If your dog eats any part of these flowers, you will see symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, and tiredness. Take your dog to the vet as soon as you think they’ve consumed any of the flower, otherwise, symptoms can get worse!
As with Spring, Summer is full of colourful nature growing everywhere, and you find yourself going on more trips to the seaside or lakes. These waterside activities can bring some health risks for your pooch, and the sizzling sun can be a hazard as well!
These nasty pests are around for the whole year, but become a far bigger problem in the warmer months. Insects tend to be more abundant in hotter climates, and ticks and fleas are no different. Both bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of animals and are often transferred onto dogs from outdoor surroundings.
Fleas are minute to the human eye, but you may notice little droppings coming off your dog's fur. Fleas jump around the dog’s body, mainly found in areas such as the abdomen, head, and base of the tail. They breed while living on the pet’s skin and a single flea can live for up to a year! Fleas can consume a LOT of blood, so if they manage to fest on your dog for a long time, there is a risk of your dog getting anaemia and other serious ailments.
Ticks are more noticeable because of their size and can transmit a number of diseases to pets, including Lyme Disease. They nest themselves in the skin of a dog, commonly in areas such as the head, neck, ears, and feet. Tick infestation can also cause anaemia and blood loss, but there is the added risk of disease to worry about.
If you notice your dog feeling itchy – scratching or licking themselves a lot more – then they may have an infestation of one of these parasites. If so, you need to take them to a vet. Ticks can be removed by you at home, with some careful tweezing skills! Make sure you avoid contact with either fleas or ticks, as they can also feed on human blood, and puts you at risk of disease too!
To keep their defences up against these harmful bugs, it's vital that you stay up to date with your pet's flea, worm and tick medication. A simple drop onto their neck each month can protect your pooch from the harm of contracting the bugs. Talk to your vet about the best brand for you.
Imagine wearing a thick, winter coat, in the summer’s heat. Well, for our beloved pups, that’s a reality throughout the hotter months. But unlike us, dogs don’t sweat through their skin (which is our body’s way of cooling us down). Instead, dogs release heat through their noses and paw pads, or by panting – it’s the natural way their bodies regulate temperature. For this reason, dogs are very susceptible to heat stroke...
Watch out for these symptoms when it’s hot:
Taking quick action is essential to saving your dog from organ damage, brain damage, or even death. If you notice any of the symptoms outlined above, make sure you do these things:
These seasons are colder, and the nights are longer. Maybe you associate this time with feeling a bit groggy and constantly trying to stay warm? Your dog will probably feel the same, so no wonder they’ll want to cuddle up next to you!
As dogs age, it’s natural for them to start showing small signs of wear and tear, including the deterioration of their joints. They can become stiffer and less mobile, due to the loss of cartilage and fluid in the joints to cushion any impact or movement. This reduction in cartilage can lead to inactivity, pain, and inflammation – all detrimental to your dog’s overall wellbeing. Joint pain is often indicative of the onset of arthritis, too, which affects over 50% of dogs.
If you suffer from joint pain yourself, whether mild or more, you know that the cold weather can exacerbate the pain. Well, the poor pooches that suffer from arthritis will also notice their limbs aching more as the temperature drops.
You may notice your dog's activity level change. They will seem less keen to play or go for walks, they might look more tired after doing some physical activity, and generally seem more lethargic. Less obvious signs could be a loss of appetite and excessive licking of certain areas on their body.
There are many medications on the market that can help your dog manage their joint pain, including anti-inflammatories and pain-killers, but neither of these options helps to address the source of the pain. Rather than just mask the pain, wouldn’t it be great to reverse it, instead? Look for doggy joint care supplements made by a reputable, ethical pet brand that use targeted ingredients, like glucosamine HCL and green lipped mussel, that have been proven to rebuild and restore damaged cartilage, take away pain and inflammation and give your pup’s joints the best chance of repair.
An unsurprising health issue that hits us all as we head into the winter months is the unpleasant coughs and sneezes we get. Dogs are also susceptible to catching colds, but they don’t know how to make a hot cup of honey and lemon tea to soothe it!
Most cases aren’t that serious and will go away on their own, but you can help your pooch along by feeding them nutrient-rich foods and keeping your home nice and warm. If you have an elderly pet, and they have an ongoing cold, it might be worth going to the vet. Older dogs or dogs with prior health conditions may find that any illness they contract will be more detrimental to their health. Antibiotics are available from the veterinarian for dogs with persistent symptoms.
It will seem similar to a cold we humans get, so watch out for runny noses, sneezing, coughing, fever, and of course they will want to rest more than usual!
So much can change in a year, but the health of your dog should be something that will hopefully not change too drastically! There is no guarantee that even if you look after your dog reallywell, that they won’t be at risk of one of these seasonal health problems. You know that if you have a dog that loves nature, they could catch something such as ticks, so do your best to prevent problems. Once you have an idea of what your dog likes doing, you can make a decision about which medicines are best to keep health risks at bay for them!