Caring for Your Dog During the Spring Season

In Montana, springtime can mean adventurous hikes, the reopening of patios at your favorite dog-friendly spots, and pretty flowers blooming. But it also brings the appearance of several other problems for your dog. 

This guide will help you understand the three most common springtime worries so that you can enjoy the outdoors with your dog and keep an eye out for signs of trouble. 

Three Spring Season Problems for Dogs in Montana

1. Leptospirosis 

With the warmer weather, many dogs are eager to get back into the water. However, leptospirosis is a risk when dogs play in lakes, ponds, and even areas of rivers that may have been stagnant through the winter. 

This disease, caused by the Leptospira bacteria, is found in both soil and water, and is transferred through contaminated urine. Drinking or swimming in contaminated water is the most common way for leptospirosis to spread. 

However, a dog can also get leptospirosis from eating infected tissues, fecal matter, or soil. It can also be transmitted through bites from infected animals. 

Severe cases can cause kidney, lung, or liver failure in dogs. Leptospirosis is especially dangerous because it is a zoonotic disease that’s transferable to humans. Luckily, there is a yearly vaccination that can greatly reduce the effects of leptospirosis bacteria on your dog. You can talk to your regular veterinarian about the vaccine to see if it is a good choice for your pet.

Common Leptospirosis Symptoms: If you see any of these, it is a good idea to have your pet examined. If Leptospirosis is suspected, lab tests can help confirm the diagnosis.

  • Fever
  • Reluctance to move
  • Increased thirst 
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 


2. Ticks

Spring is also the start of flea and tick season. Ticks are found most often in long grasses and wooded areas. Tick-borne illnesses, like Rocky Mountain spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Colorado Tick Fever and Anaplasmosis are treatable if detected early enough. But since it can be difficult to find tiny ticks in a dog’s fur, prevention is the best way to avoid getting sick. 

Applying insect repellent, using monthly spot on medications, keeping to the center of trails, and avoiding tall grasses are all ways to reduce exposure. Tick checks and a shower or bath after a hike—for both you and your dog—can help get rid of unlatched ticks and help you find latched ticks so you can remove them. Your regular veterinarian can help you find the best preventative options for your pet.

If your dog has any symptoms within 30 days after the removal of a tick, notify your veterinarian right away. 

Common Tick Borne Disease Symptoms:

  • Rashes (visible in areas with little or no fur)
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Limping


3. Seasonal Allergies

Along with the new buds and pretty new plants come seasonal allergies that not only affect humans but dogs as well. Yes, you read the right! Springtime allergies are quite common in dogs. Unlike humans, the most common signs of problems in dogs are itching and scratching. 

If you notice any symptoms, keep track of them so you can tell your vet. If allergy symptoms become a hindrance to your dog’s day-to-day activities—or hinder their breathing—you may need to visit your veterinarian to get some allergy relief for your dog.   

Common Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies:

  • Itching
  • Skin irritation or hives  
  • Occasionally wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Frequent ear infections that occur in the spring and summer

The Best Pet Dental Care in Montana

No matter the season, one of the best things you can do for your pet is to provide great dental care. Poor dental health can lead to painful tooth decay or dangerous infections. Dental problems can take a toll on your dog’s overall health, cause severe pain, keep them from enjoying their favorite activities, and can even cause aggression in some dogs. Unfortunately, most pets never show any obvious signs of pain from dental disease; they just hide the pain.

Annual dental cleanings and exams can identify and treat common oral health problems before they get too big. From tooth decay to stinky breath, let Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery take care of your dog’s oral health so you can concentrate on keeping them healthy this spring. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/20/22). Photo by Barcs Tamás on Unsplash.