As Spring moves in, our dogs are as excited as we are to get outside for some fresh air. But if you take a deep breath, along with the scents of April showers and May flowers you may catch a whiff of skunk. Now is a great time to stock up on your favourite skunk spray treatment, and to have your dog towels at the ready.
Pro Tip: Keep your skunk-spray supplies handy year round; although they hibernate, skunks can be active for short periods of time all year long!
Warmer weather brings them back to full speed, which makes letting your dog out in the yard or off-leash during dawn and dusk most risky between April and October. Do what you can to make your yard as unhospitable to skunks as possible by promptly removing brush piles, patching any holes in the fencing, and ensuring there aren’t any appealing den-like holes around outdoor storage such as the shed. If your dog is sprayed, be very careful about cleaning around the eyes and mouth, and make a call to the vet to ensure your Mojo doesn’t suffer any serious eye irritation and wasn’t bitten during the incident.
Bacteria and viruses commonly found in soil are also alive and well come Spring, because they love that freshly exposed moist soil as much as dogs do. Your dog’s nose picks up infinitely more scents than yours does, which makes for exciting walks during Spring because the snow has uncovered a whole new world! Eager to check explore after a winter of minimal smells, your dog will happily spend all time outdoors nose-down in the dirt. We recommend that you discourage that behaviour to reduce the risk of your dog picking up bacterial or fungal infections naturally found in the soil, or from soil soaked in urine by an infected animal. Stay on the path!
Spring is your annual reminder to increase your tick check vigilance. Generally speaking, ticks are known to be active when the temperature is around 4 degrees Celsius, but warmer areas underground can see ticks stirring even on colder days so regardless of the time of year, keep an eye out. But, like skunks, the risk of you or your dog coming into contact with them increases exponentially as the snow melts.
One last note about welcoming in Spring for dog owners: It’s time to practice distraction training with your dog, particularly if you’re planning to visit unfamiliar areas like the cottage or a campground. Winter is a quiet season by comparison to spring and summer, so reacquaint your dog with the sounds of loud traffic, children playing, and bicycles to help them focus on your commands at any time. Reaffirming obedience training really matters when they start to nose around in the dirt or show interest in a skunk!
New Approach Canine can help you plan ahead for summer vacation. We have training classes available for dogs of all skill levels, and our brand new fully licensed boarding services is open! Call us for more information or to book your spots at (519) 208-5559 or contact us by email.