Springtime Checklist for Dog Owners

Spring is a good time to take stock, sort out and get ready for the months ahead!
By Susan Tasaki, March 2014, Updated March 2021
spring checklist for dog owners.

Spring officially, well, springs forth in late March, but depending on where you live, it might show up earlier, or later. Either way, if you live with companion animals, now is a good time to review this spring checklist.

Personal Care

• 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

• 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 anal glands, ask your vet, groomer or other professional to check them out as well.

• Pollens and dust can affect your dog, especially in springtime. Consult with your vet to help manage allergies.

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Yard Work

• Temps allowing, sow parsley, thyme and rosemary outdoors or plant a window-sill 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.

House Work

• When you do spring housecleaning, use nontoxic products; vinegar and baking soda are your (and your dog’s) friends! 

• Planning some remodeling now that the weather’s better? Look for “green” materials

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 more tips, tricks and advice from the pros: use the site's search function to learn more about any of these topics.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 77: Spring 2014

Susan Tasaki is a The Bark contributing editor.