Tips to help dog owners get ready for spring

The first day of spring arrives this week, which means lots of sun and more time outside. Additionally, it’s time to get ready for spring cleaning!

To help you and your dog get ready for the new season, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips:

—Brush your dog’s coat. Shedding increases in the springtime as dogs lose their winter coats. Make sure to brush your dog regularly. This will help keep the shedding under control, as brushing loosens and removes dead hair and dandruff from your dog’s coat.

—Give your dog a bath. Matted hair holds water, which can irritate your dog’s skin, so be sure to brush your dog before bathing. Use lukewarm water and dog shampoo and wash his coat thoroughly. Rinse his coat well and be sure to not leave any soapy residue on him.

—Keep his paws clean. Springtime is often called “mud season” by dog owners, as outdoor playtime in the dirt and grass can lead to muddy paw prints all over the floor. Gently clean each paw with a damp cloth when your dog comes in from playing outside. Be sure to get in between his toes to remove mud and debris.

—Wash your dog’s bed. Use a fabric cover on your dog’s bed that can be easily removed for washing. Vacuum the excess hair and dirt and then wash the cover in a non-scented detergent. Also, it is recommended that you do not use any fabric softeners, which can irritate your dog’s skin.

—Clean your dog’s toys and food and water dishes. Go through your dog’s toy box to see what toys to keep, clean or throw away. Use regular dishwashing soap and hot water to thoroughly clean water and food dishes as well as toys that have been sitting in their toy box all winter.

—Exercise your pet’s body. Take advantage of increased daylight hours by spending time outdoors and exercising with your pet. Take your pet to a dog park, explore your neighborhood or simply play a game of fetch in your backyard

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