As the weather warms up and we’re getting outside more, it’s time to get back to spring routines for our pets and prepare for summer fun.

Help your pet shed that heavy, hot winter coat with a professional grooming session. He’ll feel better and look better, too. While you’re there, pick up any grooming tools you may need to help keep your pet’s coat fresh.

If you’ve been lax on flea and prevention, get back on track. It’s a lot harder to control fleas and ticks than prevent, so contact your vet or purchase your flea drops now. Maintain your two-week or four-week regimens as the brand recommends. 

Keeping critters off your pet is important. Lyme disease, spread by deer ticks, can affect your both pets and humans. If your pet goes outside often, ask your vet about Lyme disease vaccine. No vaccine exists for humans. The disease affect people with lasting, serious health consequences, so stay on top of flea and tick prevention medication. You could also consider professional pesticide application to the perimeter of your property. Some companies offer organic sprays.

Check your pet’s fur for ticks after hiking or walking through tall grass. A tick feels like a scab under your pet’s fur. In addition to itchy bites, fleas can give your pet heartworm, which can be fatal. 

Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are all up-to-date. Most municipalities require proof of vaccination.  

Inspect your traveling and walking equipment: leashes, crates and harnesses. Before you hit the road or trail, look for worn places on your pet gear than could compromise his safety or comfort. Consider upgrading to travel items like a collapsible water dish or seatbelt dog harness to make traveling with pets easier.

If your pets stay home, plan ahead so you can use a pet sitter. During busy travel times, your local pet sitter may be booked far in advance. Calling a dog walker or cat sitter early ensures your pet receives the level of care you want. Of course, a neighbor or friend may drop by to check on your pet, but a professional pet sitter makes sure your pet gets the attention he needs to stay healthy and happy. 

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant