Spring has officially sprung and while enjoying the warmer weather, when it comes to pets there are seasonal dangers to be wary of.

From pretty flowers to cooking alfresco, there are lots of things to look forward to as the weather warms up but some of them could prove risky for animals.

Dr Samantha Butler-Davies, Veterinary Clinical Services Manager at Vets4Pets, said: “As we all look forward to spending more time outdoors together with our pets this spring, we should also be mindful of the dangers the new season can pose for our animal companions.

“Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your pets healthy, happy and safe throughout.”

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Top tips to keep pets safe in spring

Basingstoke Gazette: Momo the old bichon frise enjoying spring in Greenwich Park, London. Picture: PAMomo the old bichon frise enjoying spring in Greenwich Park, London. Picture: PA

Dr Butler-Davies has come up with seven key risks to be aware of and protect pets from.

1. Look out for escape routes

The warmer weather means more open windows and doors, more trips to the park and more chances for your pet to wander off.

Make sure gates and fences are kept closed or locked, and regularly check them for signs of damage that could make it easier for your pet to escape or people to get in.

Microchips ensure pets can be quickly identified should they go missing, giving you the best possible chance of being reunited. It’s a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped, and to wear a collar with a tag when out in public, and you could face a hefty fine if you don’t follow these rules – the government is also currently reviewing plans to make it the law for cats to be microchipped.

If the unthinkable were to happen, the free Pets at Home VIP club app includes a free pet-finding service, Find My VIP, to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

2. Prepare for visitors

Sunshine often means garden get-togethers and more people in your home than usual. Visitors coming into the home can sometimes cause anxiety in our pets, therefore it’s a good idea to create a safe and quiet space for them.

This could be in a spare bedroom or utility room where they can escape the commotion along with some of their favourite toys and bedding so it feels familiar to them.

It’s also important to prepare your visitors by making sure they know to close any doors, windows or gates to stop a panicked pet making an accidental escape. You might also want to advise them not to feed table scraps or other treats to your pet, as they may not realise the dangers involved.

For pets who become particularly anxious, it’s worth investing in a calming spray or pheromone diffuser to help them feel calm in new and unfamiliar situations.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Spring poses a few risks which could lead to a visit to the vets for your pet. Picture: PASpring poses a few risks which could lead to a visit to the vets for your pet. Picture: PA

3. Beware at barbecues

Although it may be tempting to involve them in alfresco dinner parties and barbecues in the warmer months, be careful that your dog or cat doesn’t snaffle or chew on any bones, kebab skewers or cocktail sticks.

Some can splinter off and cause serious issues like getting stuck in your pet’s intestines, while others may break their teeth.

4. And keep the rest of your food out of their way too!

Some of the most popular foods and drinks for humans, such as chocolate, nuts, raisins and alcohol can all be poisonous to pets, so try to keep these safely out of reach and hidden away in cupboards or on high shelves.

If you suspect your pet may have eaten something poisonous, act quickly and contact your vet immediately. Don’t try and treat your pet without the help of an expert.

Although there are plenty of proposed antidotes and home remedies online, many of these may cause more harm than good, so it’s essential that you always get advice from an expert, such as a vet, first.

Find further advice on what foods to avoid at the Pets at Home website.

5. Watch out for fleas

Although fleas are a problem for pets all year round, they particularly thrive in warm wet weather so it’s important to check for them frequently.

Do a regular thorough check through your pet’s fur and keep an extra close eye on the armpits, groin area, back of the neck and base of the tail, as these are popular flea hideouts.

The best way to ensure your pet is protected is to keep up to date with their flea treatments. It’s worth setting a monthly reminder on your phone or consider a subscription service to get treatments delivered directly to your door. Treatments are usually completely hassle-free as they come as a ‘spot on’ products that are quick and easy to administer.

If you’re worried it’s always best to speak to your vet for advice.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Keeping an eye out for risks means your pet can enjoy spring as much as you do. Picture: PAKeeping an eye out for risks means your pet can enjoy spring as much as you do. Picture: PA

6. It’s the season for lungworm

Warm wet weather also means more slugs and snails are around. This puts dogs at higher risk of contracting lungworm as their larvae can live in the slime and contaminate any toys or water bowls it comes into contact with.

Lungworms can grow to 2.5cm and live within the chambers of the heart and in the artery that connects the heart to the lungs, causing a variety of symptoms such as coughing, weight loss, unexplained bleeding or bruising and, in extreme cases, fatality.

If you live in an area where lungworm may be common, we recommend including a preventative treatment in your parasite control for your dog. Visit your vet for expert advice and they can discuss the option of prescribing a preventative lungworm treatment.

7. Keep flowers out of reach

They may look pretty, but some of our favourite spring flowers are highly poisonous to pets. Lilies are highly toxic for cats, so much so that they shouldn’t even go near the water the flowers have been standing in. Cats who brush against lilies can also get pollen on their fur and suffer poisoning when they lick themselves.

Try to keep these flowers well out of reach of your pets and – if you can – try to avoid them being in your home or garden altogether.