Spring has, officially, sprung. For many pet owners, this means long walks outside, patio season, and basking in the sunlight we’ve been deprived of for months. Unfortunately, this warm weather and seasonal change could spell danger for beloved pets, whether they’re indoor-only, outdoor enthusiasts, or travelling with you on vacation. Before embarking on trips and home improvement projects (see what we did there?), take a moment to read through these helpful springtime safety tips. This knowledge could save you a costly trip to the vet.

Don’t Bug Out – Spring means warmer weather, longer days, and a slew of new creepy crawly creatures to entertain Fido and Fluffy. It’s important to keep your pets on prescription heartworm medication, as well as flea and tick treatments, year-round, but this is especially important in the spring months. If Fido enjoys long walks in the woods, or if you’re bringing your pets on an outdoor vacation, be sure to check them for ticks immediately.

Stay Safe with Spring Cleaning – Annual spring cleaning can expose pets to a bunch of harmful chemicals like ammonia, bleach, and chlorine. Even natural cleaning products, in large amounts, can cause stomach problems. If you can, hitch Fido to the tree in your backyard (with some shade, please!) while you’re cleaning. If this isn’t possible, put your pets in a separate room as you work through the house, and be sure to keep them there until all recently cleaned surfaces are dry.

Check Your Screens – Warm weather means tons of sunlight and open windows. However, before throwing open the windows, be sure to inspect your screens and sashes to ensure cats and dogs can’t fall out or escape. Push lightly on your screens to make sure they don’t give, and be sure to check screen doors for holes.

Beware of Poison – Spring marks the official beginning of pest season, and cities, towns, and neighbors like to stay on top of bug and rat control. Unfortunately, this means hidden poisons lurk everywhere. Anything designed to kill a pest can also prove fatal to your pet. Be sure to monitor your pet closely while outside. If you suspect they have ingested something, contact the veterinarian immediately.

Leash Up – When the weather gets nicer, you and Fido will want to spend as much time outside as possible. This is a great opportunity to ensure your leash, collar, and/or harness are all in good shape. Winter weather can wreak havoc on these tough fabrics, so be sure to carefully inspect everything before you head out on that first long walk of the season. It could mean the difference between a safe pup and a lost dog.

Protect from Puddles – Puddles may be fun for splashing, but they can also lead to issues for curious dogs. Don’t let your pup drink from stagnant water sources, like puddles or ponds. This can lead to gastrointestinal issues or, in the most extreme cases, serious health concerns, like Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause damage to the kidneys or liver.

Overexposure Dangers – As the days get longer and you spend more time outside, there’s a heightened risk of overexposure to U.V. rays. Even if the temperature is brisk, this sunlight can seriously harm animals – even indoor cats who enjoy sitting in sunny windows. Animals with white coats are ore susceptible to this danger, but no pet is safe from sun damage. Do your best to ensure your pet doesn’t spend too much time in the sun. If necessary, invest in protective clothing to keep them safe during long walks outside.