Florida’s spring season generally starts about mid-March, and it’s a time of year that engenders positivity and growth. The temperatures typically hover between 60 and 80 degrees throughout the season, leaving days pleasantly warm and nights pleasantly cool. Both human and non-human residents of Brevard County tend to be more active during the spring, tourists flock to Florida to escape colder climates (or the #coronacopalypse!), and migratory birds and animals travel through here on their way to summer destinations.
Spring is a wonderful time to be in Brevard County, Florida!
Each season has its own hazards that affect our pets and springtime is no exception. Many plants contain toxic components and it is often difficult to tell which are safe and which are not when they are just sprouts. In addition, blooming trees and flowers produce more allergy-inducing pollens during this time of year and molds and mildews proliferate. Both wild and domestic animals tend to be more active and more easily agitated in the spring months, which can lead to more dangerous encounters, and smoke from seasonal brush fires can cause respiratory distress.
Here are a few safety tips for your pets to help mitigate springtime hazards that can be found in Brevard County.
The rapid growth of plants during the spring season can lead to a number of difficulties for our cats and dogs. Toxic plants and non-toxic plants often look very similar as sprouts when they first emerge in the early spring, and the tender shoots can look quite appetizing to your pets.
Even plants that are considered safe for our pets can be dangerous when sprayed with certain types of fertilizers and bug spray. Ensure that your four-legged family member is not allowed outside without direct supervision and don’t let them nibble on plants in neighbor’s yards, even if the plant is normally fairly pet-safe, such as lawn grass. Be cautious about letting your dog walk on other people’s yards as this is a popular time to fertilize lawns.
Many species of plants release pollen into the air in the spring as well, which can lead to allergic reactions. If you notice your dog or cat starts rubbing their eyes and nose and incessantly rubs against furniture in the spring and summer, or if they develop a red nose, bald patches, or swollen paws, you may be observing symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Simply shampooing your pet on a regular basis with a may help to prevent outbreaks. There are many different ways to treat allergic reactions, however, and your animal’s veterinarian will be best equipped to help you decide which will work best for your particular circumstances.
Foolhardy Fur Babies
Spring fever is not limited to humans and our pets tend to be a little more restless and rambunctious this time of year. Pandemic or not, animals that are otherwise well-behaved citizens of the household are more likely to demonstrate problem behaviors like excessive vocalizing, territorial marking, and destructive chewing during the spring months.
In some cases, this restlessness can lead to your canine companion digging out of the back yard or your feline friend darting out of an open door, and It is especially important to be aware of your pet’s actions during these months, as they may become somewhat unpredictable.
While some of these tendencies are simply your dog or cat’s way of expressing their enthusiasm and zest for life, many of the behaviors are hormonally motivated. Spaying or neutering your pet many help to mitigate some of the worst of the difficulties.
Our fur babies are not the only animals that are restless during the spring months.
Several Florida animals, including armadillos, deer, and panthers, nurse their young during the spring and are often more defensive than at other times of the year. Bears are becoming more active after their long winter’s torpor and may be more irritable than they usually are, and both venomous and non-venomous snakes are feeling more energetic, increasing the chances of unexpected encounters.
Spring is also the mating season many species native to Florida, including alligators. Although these predatory reptiles can be dangerous at any time of year, they are especially aggressive and volatile between April and June. This is an especially important time of year to keep your pet indoors or properly leashed in order to prevent encounters with wild animals. Watch them carefully, even when leashed, and discourage dangerous behaviors like sticking their nose in holes, wandering through long grass, or drinking from or walking near bodies of water that may be inhabited by alligators.
Spring in Brevard County is often drier than in other months, leading to an increase in brush fires. The smoke that clogs the air during a brush fire can cause all sorts of unpleasant side effects for humans and their pets alike.
Symptoms caused by wildfire smoke can include itchy, red eyes, inflammation of the tissues, particularly those that line the mouth and throat, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. If the smoke is visible, limit your animal’s outdoor exposure as much as possible. If you do have to take your pet outdoors in the smoke, be sure to limit their exercise levels to compensate for the pollution.
It is important to create a pet evacuation kit as well, as some of the brush fires in Brevard County have even threatened residential neighborhoods.
While spring is a wonderful season in Florida, it is also a bit wild. In its obvious beauty are less obvious dangers, such as agitated wildlife, toxic sprouts, heavier than average allergens, and smoke pollution from brush fires.
As pet parents, we all want to give our fur babies plenty of opportunities to explore in the spring months. It is important, however, to balance those opportunities for adventure with current knowledge and strong safety practices in order to keep our dogs and cats happy and healthy for many seasons to come.
Learn more about how we can help you with your fur baby by contacting us here.
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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