Spring is in the air, and I'm as anxious as anyone to go for leisurely walks, and have more time in the garden. Spring fever comes with cautions for our dogs though.
Those early spring flowers (tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and more) can be toxic to dogs, and if you have a dog that likes to dig - beware of the flower bulbs and make sure none are consumed. They tend to be the most toxic part of a plant.
Spring cleaning can include all kinds of products that contain toxic chemicals. Vinegar and baking soda are a safer bet. There are many pet-safe cleansers on the market as well. Fertilizers, weed sprays, bug sprays - all can be dangerous for your dog. If a chemical is capable of killing pests, it may also have potential to harm dogs. Vinegar will kill weeds (and the lawn if you get enough on it), so a spray bottle aimed at the cracks between patio stones works beautifully.
Of course, the fact that you don't treat your lawn with chemicals, so it's safe for your dog doesn't mean that everyone does the same thing. Pesticides are a real problem in some areas. For those dog owners who watch their dogs eat grass and wonder why, here are some facts to consider.
There are more and more studies showing the vital roles of vitamin D including cancer prevention and heart health to name only two. Unlike people, dog's don't get much vitamin D from being exposed to direct sunlight. They must receive it from food sources. So, despite that we enjoy walking them for longer periods of time in the spring, and they enjoy being out there with us, we need to ensure their vitamin D levels are optimal.
Most dogs get longer workouts at this time of year, and that's fantastic for helping to keep the body slim while positively impacting the skeleton and muscles. Here again,vitamin D plays significant roles including optimizing muscle strength.
Dogs in kidney failure have a very special need for vitamin D, so I would be remiss to leave that out. The stage of disease matters, so the earlier you think about this the better off your dog can be.