To help pet owners navigate the change in season, Dr Natalia Li has compiled ahelpful guide to keep our pets happy and safe this spring.

Grass allergies

In spring, pets are more prone to grass allergies, which are caused by thepollen that floats through the air and penetrates their skin and nasalpassages.

Symptoms include irritated and watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, excessiveitching, skin irritation and bald spots. If your pet is experiencing thesesymptoms, visit your local veterinarian who can provide further advice onimmunotherapy injections, shampoo to decrease the itching or an antibiotic toprevent infection.

Grass seeds and burrs

With our pets spending more time in the garden, be wary of grass burrs thatcan lodge into their paws, ears, eyes or anywhere in their furry coat. Thesethorns or prickles can dig deep into your pet’s paw if stepped on and cancause them great pain.

Pay attention to behaviours such as excessive scratching, shaking of the headand constant licking, and look out for redness, swelling or an abscess at theentry point of the grass seed lodgement. You should only attempt to remove thegrass burr if it is visibly protruding from the entry point, otherwise it willneed to be removed by a vet.

Flea and tick safety

Fleas and ticks are common in Australia and can make your pet dangerously ill.Ensure all cats and dogs in your household have been treated with the correctflea and tick protection before allowing them outside. Consistency is key, soit’s important to continue with monthly applications throughout the rest ofthe year after initial treatment.

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Itchy skin and grooming

Seasonal allergies occur when a pet’s immune system identifies something inthe environment as threatening or dangerous. One of the most common symptomsof springtime allergies is itchy and irritated skin.

This can be relieved through a nutritious, balanced diet containing essentialnutrients such as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Just like humans, our pet’soutsides can be a reflection of how they fuel their insides. Also, it isimportant that you don’t over groom them and irritate their skin further andalways use a gentle, pet formulated shampoo.

Hiking and walking safety

As the warmer weather kicks in, you’ll want to bring your four-legged friendalong wherever you go – including hikes or long walks. Before you venture out,make sure your buddy is up to date with vaccinations and worming, especiallyif you’ve just welcomed a young, new pet into your home.

Make sure that your pet is microchipped and registered with the council andensure their microchip details are up to date in case they wander too far.

If you’re going on a hike or long walk in an unfamiliar area, pack and preparefor the unexpected with food, water, medication, and emergency supplies. Toprepare for any unexpected incidents such as a snake bite, familiariseyourself with the closest vet clinic or animal hospital.

Pet-proofing homes

It’s also time to prepare for your pet’s re-emergence into the backyard andremove hazards that can cause unnecessary search parties or trips to the vet.Remember, dogs can squeeze into small spaces, so it’s essential to ensure allholes in fences are secured.

In terms of garden safety, please visit the ASPCA website for a list ofcommon plants that can be toxic and even fatal to pets. Also, you can keepyour pet free from ticks and other parasites by maintaining a well-trimmedlawn.

With that seasonal itch, it’s a great idea to provide proper scratching postsfor your feline in your home. Cats should have places they are allowed tostretch and care for their claws, without the risk of destroying furniture,drapery and carpet. To protect wildlife, it’s important to keep cats indoors,so creating an inviting space inside will help keep them comforted andentertained.


Non-desexed female cats and dogs experience hormonal changes during spring,with many pet cats beginning their search for a mate. Ensuring your male orfemale pet is desexed will reduce the change of unwanted litters andbehavioural problems, such as aggression, urine marking and roaming.Additionally, unneutered dogs are more prone to health problems such as cancerand pyometra.

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