• Grooming is a year-round activity, but to avoid the “dreads,” now’s the time to step it up. Many dogs are losing their winter coats, so be extra diligent about combing/brushing. A pro shares her tips at thebark.com/groom .
• Give your dog the sniff test. If breath or ears are a little, well, stinky, start with a good tooth-brushing or a gentle ear-cleaning at home, or have them checked out by your vet. And, if your dog is one of those plagued by their anal glands, ask your vet, groomer or other professional to check those out as well.
• Pollens and dust can affect your dog, especially in springtime. Consult with your vet to help manage allergies.
• Temps allowing, sow parsley, thyme and rosemary outdoors or plant a windowsill garden; herbs can brighten up your dog’s diet.
• Be careful when choosing new plants for the yard; some are toxic, as are some bulbs, including tulips, lilies and daffodils. Check the ASPCA’s online list for safety.
• Remember that dogs find fresh green grass almost irresistible, both to roll in and eat, so ixnay on the chemical fertilizers (even organic fertilizers can cause GI upset and inflammation). Slug and snail bait are also hazardous to your dog’s health.
• When you do spring housecleaning, use nontoxic products; vinegar and baking soda are your (and your dog’s) friends! See thebark.com/green for details.
• Planning some remodeling now that the weather’s better? Look for “green” materials. More info here: thebark.com/living-green
Out and About
• Shape up—gradually. Now that you and your pal can take longer walks, you may be tempted to overdo. Go easy to avoid injury.
• Polish up training. Refreshing mannerly leash walking and reinforcing spot-on recalls will make springtime outings more enjoyable.
• Are your dog’s ID tags up to date? If not, make sure they are, and replace tags that are scratched or hard to read. It’s also a good time to get your dog microchipped and be sure that contact info is current too. microchipregistry.foundanimals.org.
• Avoid fungi. Spring showers often bring out mushrooms and other fungi; steer your dog clear, as nibbling on these can be fatal (and, depending on where you live, don’t forget to check your yard).
• Watch out for wildlife . Animals are on the move, looking for food, mates or good places to have their young.
Find lots of tips, tricks and advice from the pros by using the search function to find more about any of these topics.