Spring Hazards

Dog and cat in Spring

Easter is a time for family get-togethers, Easter egg hunts, the end of lent, and a touch of spring cleaning. However, there are a few spring dangers you need to look out for to keep your pets safe during this time.

We have put together a list of hazards to look out for!

Food and drink

As your Easter get-togethers are all planned, and you are enjoying your favourite Easter snacks watch out for what snacks your pet may have their eyes on.

Chocolate is very toxic to our pets if consumed, as it contains an ingredient called theobromine. Even a small amount can harm your dog.

Hot cross buns contain dried vine fruit which can be deadly to dogs as it can cause kidney failure. Always keep Raisins and dried fruit away from them.

Alcohol, if consumed, can be extremely fatal to your pets. Most pets will dislike the taste of alcohol and will avoid it, however, if some is split on to the floor your pets might be curious and lick it up.

If your pet has consumed dried vine fruit, chocolate, or alcohol please contact your local Willows vet immediately.

Parasites and allergies

Dogs and sometimes cats can develop seasonal allergies to plants, pollen, and grasses in spring. Pets with allergies will often itch their skin and have ear problems. Scratching too much will damage their skin and cause sores, infections, and maybe even hair loss. If you think your pet has developed a seasonal allergy, contact your local Willows vets.

Sadly, in the spring and summer months, unwelcomed critters that can harm your pets will come out. Fleas, ticks, and worms will grow more in the warmer weather. Ensure you check your pet’s fur for ticks if they have been in long grass or mixed forest areas. Also, make sure they are up to date with all their parasite treatments before the warm weather hits.

Spring clean

As April hits your spring clean will be in full swing, but be aware that the products you will be using are dangerous to your pets if they are consumed, as they contain toxic chemicals. Your dog will find the taste of the products unpleasant, but they might be attracted to the bright colours and unusual shape of the bottles, and they might want to play with them, so make sure the products are out of reach. Keep them in a cupboard with the door shut, when using them around the house ensure your pets are out of the room and if they do consume any products contact your local Willows vets straight away. Remember, don’t try, and make your dog’s sick yourself as their sick could be foamy and might get into their lungs.

Spring animals

Adders are the only venomous snake native to England, during the winter month they go into hibernation. At the start of April, adders start to wake and come out of hibernation. If your pet happens to bother an adder, your pet could get bitten and it could be fatal. So, take extra care if you and your pet are walking through long grass.

If your pet does get bitten by an adder contact your vet practice immediately.

As the weather starts to warm up you will see more wasps and bees around, try to keep your pet away from them. Wasps and bees will sting your pets if they irritate them. Most stings cause mild pain, and little irritation, and you can try scraping out the sting (without squeezing it!) with a credit card, make sure to wash the area in water, and apply ice afterwards too. Some pets might be allergic to wasp or bee stings, if you are concerned, please contact your local Willows branch.

Heat stroke

Watch out for heat stroke in your pets as the temperature starts to raise in the spring and summer months. It is rare for a cat to get heatstroke, but it can happen so, keep an eye on them when they are in the garden sunbathing. Dogs on the other hand are more likely to suffer from heart stroke. It will occur when their body temperature raises, and they can’t lose the excess heat. Even if your dog’s temperature raises by just 4 degrees, your dog can be at risk of the outcome being fatal. There are a few things you can do to prevent heatstroke in dogs, for example making sure they always have fresh cold water down to drink, giving them a cool place to sit/lay and restricting walks to early morning or late afternoon if the temperature in the day is going to be high.

If you think your cat or dog has heat stroke, contact your vet straight away.

Grass blades

If your cat likes eating long pieces of grass watch out for them getting those grass blades stuck in their mouth or nose. This can cause cats severe discomfort and pain and lead to breathing problems, sneezing, and even loss of appetite. Please contact your Willow branch if you think your cat has a grass blade stuck.


As the weather becomes warmer insects will start to appear. Although most insects are fine and won’t cause any threat to your rabbits, bottle flies will lay their eggs inside your rabbit’s fur and spread flystrike. The fly’s eggs will hatch into maggots, they will then burrow into the rabbit skin, causing shock and potentially rapid death. The flies are attracted to dirt and dampness around the rabbits back end. You can prevent flystrike from happening by using preventative products, maintaining good dental health, and keeping their hutches clean and dry.

Poisonous plants and Garden cleaning

As you start to get your gardens ready for the summer and planting your spring flowers, watch what your pets are sniffing and eating from your garden. A lot of spring flowers are very poisonous to your pets, the petals, and the bulbs. Don’t leave the plant bulbs lying around the garden for your pets to pick up, keep them out of reach. If eaten, they can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

A list of poisonous plants:

  • Daffodils – bulbs & flower
  • Tulips
  • Bluebells
  • Rhododendrons and azaleas
  • Amaryllis
  • Butter cups
  • Foxglove – leaves and seeds
  • Rhubarb – leaves

Contact your vet if your pet has eaten one of these flowers or their bulbs.

Many garden cleaning products can be toxic to dogs, cats and rabbits. Slug pellets, fertilisers and weed killers are just a few products that contain substances that can be extremely toxic if consumed.

So, remember to keep all garden cleaning produces away from your pets, don’t let them out in the garden if you know you have put some down and if consumed called your local Willows vets!