Springtime Dangers for Pets


Spring is in the air and everyone is sniffing each other’s derrieres. Your pets have to meet their neighbours all over again. They forgot that Buffy the Maine Coon slayer lived next door or that Mack the Ripper moved into the Bichon’s house.

What we see most often in the clinic:

  • Catfight abscesses.
  • Dog walks and Dog Park encounters/bites.

Are they playing or fighting? To recognize playfulness, look for these signs: Bowing down with a wiggling bootie in the air means “Let’s play”, taking turns as chaser and chasee, frolicking ears and corner of the mouth and forthcoming growls are always a good sign of playtime.


Certain insects also have their “meet-and-greets” in the spring. In the Northeast, the black fly season is almost upon us. Bites from black flies, for instance, are usually more of an annoyance than a real danger, but many folks worry if they see bunches of red spots on their dog’s abdomen and can’t identify them. These spots are usually not itchy unless your dog has a particular allergy, and they often fade in a few days. Be aware of the common pests in your area and use the same sense you would yourself for your pets. For the ever-present threat of an allergic reaction to a bee, wasp, hornet or spider bite, keep Benadryl – call your local vet clinic for the dose as it varies based on the pet’s weight.

Toxic Plants and Shrubs

Many ornamentals, if eaten, may cause GI upset, but certain beautiful flowers, shrubs, wildflowers and mushrooms can be extremely dangerous. Most dogs and cats live around toxic plants and shrubs and don’t eat them. However, if you have a puppy, kitten, dog, or cat who is notorious for eating anything they can find, be vigilant during blooming seasons. Watch out for even the very common spring bloomers such as azalea, rhododendron and lily-of-the-valley, to name a few. For more information, see the ASPCA’s list of dogs and cats.

Intestinal Parasites

Although always a threat, intestinal parasites are more prevalent in warmer weather and climates. Parasites in feces enter the soil and can be picked up more easily by another pet in the spring. Heartworm preventives and flea and tick products can often prevent intestinal parasites. Check with your vet to see if your dog or cat is already protected or needs additional stool checks or de-wormers.

Written by Briana Taker VA