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Spring Into Action, Pay Careful Attention to Your Pets This Season

North Shore Animal League America Pet Experts Offer Spring Safety Tips

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Media & Communications Department
Phone: (516) 883-7900, Ext. 482
Mobile: (516) 528-7878

March 26, 2014 (Port Washington, NY) – As we put the cold winter behind us and welcome the sunny joys spring has to offer, it’s wise to be aware of seasonal hazards that can threaten your beloved pets.  The experts at Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, urge pet owners to be mindful of the time their pets spend outdoors.

“It’s an animal owner’s obligation to ensure its safety at all times, but spring especially presents a unique set of challenges with the weather change. With good preparation and knowledge, pets can be safe and comfortable over the season,” advises Mark Verdino, Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff.
Animal League America offers these tips for pet owners everywhere for this season:

  1. With the arrival of Spring often comes the annual Spring Cleaning.  This is a good time to give your pets a fresh start as well.  Bedding, leashes, and collars can be washed to remove dirt and oils accumulated over the winter.  Toys and winter clothing can also be cleaned.  Basic house cleaning can also be a benefit to your pets.  Air vents should be cleaned to minimize dust and irritants when the AC is kicked on.  Do be careful, however, as many cleaning supplies can be harmful to your pets if ingested while in contact.
  2. Many plants used indoors or in landscaping can be harmful or even toxic to your pets. Reactions can range from mild (oral irritation, stomach upset) to life threatening (organ failure).  The most common are lilies (especially for cats), daffodils, philodendrons, jades, chrysanthemums, and cycads (sago palm). While a life threatening exposure often requires ingestion of large amounts of these plants, toxic effects occur with just small quantities.  If these plants are part of your landscaping, use precautions to eliminate exposure.  Many common yard mushrooms can be harmful as well.  A complete list of toxic plants can be found on the ASPCA website. 
  3. Most fertilizers are safe with mild exposure.  However, similar to plants, large ingestion of fertilizers can be just as dangerous.  This can range from gastrointestinal irritation to even the risk of bowel obstruction (often from bone meal).  If herbicides or pesticides are added, the danger increases.  Rodenticide exposure risk goes up dramatically in the Spring and Summer and just small ingested amounts can be life threatening to our precious pets.  Any known exposure should warrant an emergency visit to the Vet – time is critical!
  4. Like humans, many animals are susceptible to seasonal allergies.  Most manifesting allergy symptoms occur in the Spring, due to grasses and trees pollinating.  Dust kicked up by air conditioning and molds/mildews that grow in moist, warm environments can also cause allergic reactions.
  5. Generally, Spring allergy symptoms include watery, itchy eyes, runny noses, and itchy, irritated skin.  If not managed properly, secondary infections can often develop.  If you are planning to bring your pet to the Vet for treatment of such allergies, be sure to mention when the symptoms started and if your pet was similarly affected in prior years.  Pets can take some over the counter allergy medicines, but we do NOT advise starting these without consulting with your Vet first. 
  6. Warm weather also brings about strong exposure to insects.  Bees, wasps, and spiders can all cause painful and harmful injuries that may require immediate medical attention.  Exposure to these critters is rare but difficult to prevent.  Also, let's not forget about the pesky mosquitoes – they can transmit heart worm, which can be life threatening. Please, always keep your pets on an approved heart worm preventative.
  7. Since we had a long, cold winter and most pets were cooped up inside for a few months, there are critical things owners should keep in mind before taking their pets outdoors for the first time in the Spring. Just as with people, we often see injury rates increase during the springtime as pets (and their owners) become more active.  We recommend building their activity level gradually, rather than letting them go crazy at the first sight of grass.  Make sure your pet's vaccines are up to date.  
  8. Furthermore, Springtime means longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off!  Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.
  9. Dental hygiene is another effective “Spring Tune-Up” tool. Have your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned by a vet.
  10. And most importantly, any time of the year, spay and neuter your pet so that your animals do not contribute to the large population of unwanted litters. Also, keeping in mind the topics discussed above can help keep your pet stay safe and happy this Spring!

To learn more about keeping your pets safe and healthy at all times, visit

North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at, follow us at To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit

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