Springtime Dog Care
May is well underway and we’ve been enjoying the longer daylight hours for late dog walks in warmer sunnier weather. However, there are a few things to consider when walking our dogs at this time of year.
Dogs can become poisoned by drinking, swimming or playing in water that has been contaminated with blue-green algae. This algae produces chemicals that are toxic to both animals and humans so it’s important to keep your dog away from suspected sources. Unfortunately, blue-green algae is widespread across the UK and is found in ponds, stream, lakes, estuaries and other areas of open water. Water that contains blue-green algae may appear a different colour or have visible algae blooms on the surface of the water close to the shore, however the only way to confirm that the toxins are present in the water is through testing. It is not guaranteed that the lack of visible algae ensures that a water source is toxin free. Therefore local knowledge is the best form of prevention.
Symptoms of blue green algae poisoning can appear quickly after ingestion and include (but are not limited to) diarrhoea and vomiting which may contain blood, lethargy, twitching, heart or blood problems, difficulty breathing, liver or kidney damage, all of which can be fatal for your dog. Its critical to take your dog to a vet immediately if any of these symptoms present in your dog after swimming or drinking from unknown water sources. If you are taking your dog on holiday, local information may help to find places that are known to be blue-green algae hot spots or water that is considered safe for dogs to enjoy. Washing your dog immediately after swimming and water play can help to reduce the chance of your dog ingesting contaminated water but is not a fail-safe method of prevention.
Grass seeds may seem fairly innocuous but can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your dog if they manage to embed into your pets skin. These tough little seeds are easily picked up and become stuck to your dog’s hair when walking your dog through grassy areas. Their shape and sharp ends makes them particularly able to burrow into your dogs skin, causing localised pain, swelling leading to infection and abscesses. Grass seeds can penetrate the skin on any part of the body but is common in the ears, seen by a dog repeatedly shaking and tilting its head, and the paws, evident by lameness and constant worrying of the injury site. Once embeded, the seed must be removed by your vet. There may not always be an obvious wound or point of entry for the seed visible on the skin.
Regular grooming, particularly after a walk in long grass can greatly reduce the chances of a grass seed entering the skin. Brushing physically removes the seeds that have been caught in the coat and prevents the dog from ingesting them too. Dogs that have a lot of hair around the ears and paws will benefit from clipping. Our Pedigree Pro dog clipper is ideal for keeping your dog’s coat in an easy to maintain trim and we also sell specialist toe blades for clipping hair around the narrow parts between the toes and around the feet.
The warmer weather from the Spring and onwards means that we spend longer outside with our dogs and this leads to greater exposure to parasites such as fleas and ticks. Parasites are generally spread by wildlife, other infected pets and livestock and can be picked up by walking through woodlands and long grass. Not only are canine parasites a health problem for your pet but they can pose serious health problems for people too.
Symptoms of flea infestation are itching and scratching, visible parasites in the fur, hair loss, allergic dermatitis and even tapeworm infestation. Once infected by fleas, your dog can bring them into your home where they can survive in the warmth of centrally heated homes all year round and will happily live in home furnishings, where they can be difficult to eradicate.
Ticks are also visible on your dog. They attach to the dog’s skin and look almost like a large grey coloured skin tag and can cause severe itching, lethargy, anaemia, swollen glands, paralysis, gastrointestinal problems and even Lyme disease and severe anaemia which can be fatal.
Tablets and topical treatments can be purchased from your vet and need to be given to your dog at regular intervals to break the lifecycle of these pests. However, grooming can play an important role in identifying and preventing parasitic infestation too.
Regular grooming and clipping
Grooming allows for you to check the condition of your dog’s skin and early detection of parasitic infection. A metal comb is useful to part the hair down to the skin to check for fleas and ticks, signs of embedded grass seeds or early skin problems. If your dog has a long or thick coat clipping can offer a quick and easy maintenance solution to facilitate grooming and make it much easier to spot potential problems. We offer a range of clipper sets by breed to ensure you have the right blades for the job.
Once you have brushed your do’gs coat completely through, its important to run your hands through the coat to feel all over your dog’s body to detect for unusual lumps, bumps, heat or swelling. Ticks can be easily and safely removed from the skin with a specialist tick removal tool. Topical parasitic treatments can be washed off by some shampoos. Our Earthbath and Wildwash dog shampoos do not interfere with parasite treatments, ensuring your dog is protected even after a bath! Take time to check the inside of your dogs ears and paws, in between the pads and toes to check for rogue grass seeds. Our Showmate dog trimmers are a perfect quiet cordless trimmer that makes trimming the excess hair around the head and paws a breeze. Check out our range of dog grooming equipment here: https://www.masterclip.co.uk/products-dog-clippers