When springtime has sprung: a pet parent’s guide to seasonal transitions

Mar 6, 2024

As the snow melts and the first buds of spring begin to pop up through the chilly ground, the transition from winter to spring brings about significant changes for our furry family members. This period of transition is not just about warmer temperatures and longer days; it involves adjusting routines, managing new health concerns and ensuring our pets safely enjoy the new season. The following guide will help raise your awareness so you can help navigate these changes with your pet with safety and ease. 

Springing forward!

“Spring forward” means we adjust to daylight saving time by moving clocks ahead an hour. This change not only disrupts us humans, but can also upset our pets’ schedules, particularly feeding times. If your pet is accustomed to eating at a specific time, shifting their mealtime suddenly by an hour can lead to confusion and increased hunger. To mitigate this, consider adjusting feeding times in 15-minute increments over the four days following the time change. This more gradual change helps them adapt with less stress. 

Scratching & sneezing – managing seasonal pet allergies

Spring not only brings new growth but also an increase in allergens that can affect our pets. Dog allergies can manifest through skin irritation, itching and respiratory issues. Common allergens include pollen, mold, and dust mites. These allergens can become more prevalent as we spend more time outdoors and open our doors and windows to let the fresh spring air inside. You can help remove some of these allergens by regularly bathing and brushing your dog’s coat. Also consider purchasing a quality home air purifier that can minimize indoor allergens. 

Cat allergies, similarly, can lead to symptoms such as itching, sneezing and even asthma-like wheezing. Since cats are meticulous groomers, they can ingest pollen and other allergens from their fur, exacerbating allergic reactions. Keeping your home clean, using allergen-reducing pet wipes and maintaining a regular grooming schedule can help manage your cat’s exposure to allergens. Additionally, consult with Airvet or your veterinarian for specific recommendations for allergy medications if your cat shows these symptoms during this high allergen season. 

Get moving: Spring activity & fitness

Some of us have the tendency to hibernate during the winter months and we’re relatively inactive and out of shape for long periods of time. The same goes for our pets. Come springtime, it’s essential to reintroduce physical activities slowly and gently so that you don’t overwork your pet. For dogs, specifically, start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and frequency of exercise to build up their stamina. Taking a more cautious approach can go a long way in preventing overexertion and injuries.

Shedding season: grooming & coat changes

If you live in a part of the country with four distinct seasons, shedding is a bigger issue than in climates with less variability. As temperatures rise, the need for thicker coats diminishes, and heavy coats are shed. The extent to which your dog or cat’s fur changes can also vary greatly from one animal to another. Be prepared for this change by grooming your pet regularly. Try to brush them daily and use a comb designed to tackle thick undercoats to help manage the shedding. For cats who tend to be fastidious groomers, consider giving a hairball preventive, such as Laxatone, to assist your kitty with a potential increase in hairballs. For heavy shedders, consider visiting a professional groomer – they have specialized grooming tools that can quickly and efficiently remove loose fur. 

Outdoor toxins to avoid

As you venture outside with your pet and breathe in the clean, fresh air, be cautious of outdoor hazards that pose a risk to your pets including:

Flowers and plant material

Many springtime plants and flowers can be toxic to pets. As a pet parent, it’s crucial that you’re aware of which species are dangerous to your pet and keep them away from them. For cats, pet parents need to be particularly cautious of lilies which are extremely toxic to cats and can be fatal if ingested. 

Cocoa bean mulch

This popular gardening mulch can be harmful if ingested by your dog. Cocoa bean mulch that is sold in home and garden stores is made from the beans’ shells, and is enticing to dogs. There’s enough caffeine and theobromine in the mulch that it presents a poisoning risk to dogs and cats who are attracted by the scent. Dogs are more likely than cats to ingest harmful quantities of cocoa mulch. 


Fertilizers come in various varieties and can pose a significant risk to pets. It’s best to steer clear of products that contain bone, blood, feather meal, or iron, as these can be appealing to pets but harmful if ingested in large quantities. Meals, if ingested in excess, can lead to stomach concretions, while iron-containing products may result in severe gastrointestinal, liver, and heart issues. Some fertilizers also include pesticides; certain products to care for roses contain organophosphates, which can be life-threatening even in small doses. Urea is less harmful to dogs and cats, but large ingestions could lead to gastrointestinal or blood disorders. Since products differ greatly, it’s crucial to thoroughly read the label before making a purchase. If you do use these products, keep your pets away and always wash your hands and other items that may have been contaminated by these products. 


Ensure compost is enclosed to prevent pets and wildlife from reaching it. Mold growth in compost can lead to symptoms like vomiting, tremors, and seizures within just 30 minutes.

Slug & snail baits

Slug and snail baits are available in powder, liquid, and pellet forms. They typically contain metaldehyde, ingestion of which can lead to agitation, severe hyperthermia (with your pet’s temperature reaching up to 108°F!), tremors, and seizures. If not promptly treated by a veterinarian, the symptoms may persist for days and could prove fatal.

Wild mushrooms

Wild mushrooms often first appear in the springtime in backyards and forests, with a wide variety found across North America. While some may cause minor digestive issues, others can lead to severe consequences like hallucinations, organ failure, seizures and even death. It’s critical to prevent pets from accessing wild mushrooms. If ingestion occurs, seek immediate help from a pet poison control expert to identify the mushroom type ingested. Preserve any remaining mushrooms by taking photos in their natural habitat, including close-ups. Use a quarter in the photo to assist with size reference. Handle mushrooms with gloves, and capture images of the stem, top and underside of the cap. Store mushrooms in a paper bag in the refrigerator and clearly label “POISON: DO NOT EAT.”  Having the mushroom available can help if it needs to be analyzed. 

Pet Poison Helplines

Unlike human poison control centers, pet poison helplines operate on a non-government funded basis, necessitating a nominal fee to support their team of highly skilled professionals. This fee guarantees access to expert guidance and round-the-clock assistance, ensuring optimal care for your pet during emergencies. Take note – two reputable pet poison helplines include:

Flea & tick prevention

Springtime also brings about increased activity with fleas and ticks. When the temperature rises, fleas and ticks become much more active. Start your flea and tick prevention protocols early, ideally before the weather is consistently above freezing for ticks and above 46℉ for fleas. Applying topical solutions or administering oral preventatives at least two weeks before the weather is consistently warmer can safeguard your pet from infestations. 

Dietary needs

Curious if your pet’s diet needs to change as the environment changes? Generally speaking, a pet’s diet doesn’t necessarily need to change from season to season, but if your pet is significantly more active in the warmer months, you may need to adjust their caloric intake to meet their activity level. 

Airvet offers daily pet parent support

Airvet is always ready to assist pet parents like you any time of the year – including seasonal transitions. Whether it’s applying flea and tick preventatives, managing allergies, offering nutritional guidance, or addressing concerns about potential outdoor hazards, our goal is to ensure your pet is safe and healthy. Think ahead. Proactive care goes a long way in preventing foreseeable issues before they arise, ensuring you and your pet can enjoy the change of seasons together.