Similar to how we “spring clean”, it is equally important to make sure our pets are ready for warmer weather! In this blog post, we will discuss some important considerations regarding the health of your pets as we roll into spring and summer.

Hazards in the Garden

Sunshine, fresh air, and room to run make the outdoors a fun place to be for a dog! With warm weather right around the corner and March being National Poison Prevention Month, we’d like to remind pet owners of common garden hazards for both cats and dogs. From certain types of flowers to mulch and fertilizers, it’s very important to know which plants and products can be harmful to our pets. 

  • Mulch: Some products can contain toxins like cocoa, we recommend preventing your pets from consuming mulch as it’s difficult to tell the amount of toxins present in different types of mulch. 
  • Pesticides: Those containing organophosphates are particularly dangerous even when ingested in small amounts. 
  • Slug and Snail Bait: The active ingredient metaldehyde is extremely toxic to pets and is life threatening. 
  • Fertilizers: Most fertilizers are safe for pets, however, those that contain blood and bone meal can be dangerous. While tasty and tempting for dogs, if consumed, these fertilizers can cause GI obstruction leading to pancreatitis and iron toxicity. 
  • Flowers/Plants: Sago Palm, lilies, crocuses, tulips, azaleas, and Elephant Ears. This is a very brief list of the many plants that can be toxic to our pets! 

This list of toxins is not comprehensive, for more information on toxins, check out our previous blog post on 40 Common Household Toxins. If you are concerned your pet has consumed a toxin, please call our office, your local emergency clinic, or call the Pet Poison Hotline at 800-213-6680. 

Pet Seasonal Allergies

Much like people, pets can suffer from seasonal allergies too. During this time of the year, we can expect to see some allergies (that may have resolved during the winter season) begin to plague our pets again. Signs to look for include redness of the skin, especially affecting the paws, belly, ears, legs, under the tail and face. Your pet may also seem very itchy! Signs of pruritus, or itchiness, include: scratching, shaking the head, licking and chewing at paws or skin, and rubbing on furniture or the ground. Untreated allergies or atopy can lead to skin infections and a very uncomfortable pet. Schedule a consultation to address these issues with Dr. Chris if your pet begins to show any of these clinical signs.

Pesky Parasites & Pests

Pests thrive in warmer weather. It is recommended that all pets remain on medication year-round to prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites. If you are not using these products, or are using them irregularly, it’s very important to start using them correctly and consistently. As we spend more time outside and the weather gets warmer, your pet’s risk level for these pesky parasites rises. To our clients here in Louisville, Kentucky, Dogwood Veterinary Clinic recommends testing pets biannually for intestinal parasites and annually for heartworms and tick borne diseases. It’s important to make sure your pet is parasite free and protected heading into this warmer and higher risk time of year. 


As the weather gets warmer and we spend more time outdoors with our pets, they are at a higher risk of getting away from home! In the event that a pet does get lost, microchipping can be very beneficial in helping them find their way back to their home and loving owners. If you would like to get your pet microchipped, please give our clinic a call and we would be happy to set up an appointment.

Easter Hazards

Easter can involve a few hazards to our pets that we should be mindful of. These hazards include decorative grass for baskets, chocolate, lilies, and small toys that can cause an obstruction if eaten. To learn more about these hazardous Easter items check out our 2020 Easter blog post!

These are a few things to consider as we prepare ourselves and our pets for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. If you would like to discuss any of these topics in more detail, or would like to discuss the health of your pets, please come see us at Dogwood Veterinary Clinic. We are here to serve the members of the Louisville and Prospect communities here in Kentucky. Schedule an appointment today to learn how we can help you care for your furry family members!