Spring is a special time for your pet, as they can enjoy getting back outdoors and enjoying the exercise and play they need and want. After being stuck inside for days or weeks at a time during the winter months, you and your pet will want to take advantage of comfortable temperatures and sunny skies, and get out for long walks, romps in the park or jogs around the neighborhood. While it’s important to get out and enjoy the new season, it’s also important to be aware of seasonal-specific health and safety concerns.

In spring, your dog may suddenly find himself in close contact with other dogs, with potential allergens and with ticks and bugs that can carry diseases. Being aware of the environment around you and your pup, as well as his or her specific health issues, like allergies or vaccinations, will go a long way to prevent harm, illness or injury.

Here are spring pet care tips to help you care for your furry family member without worry or fear, so you can get back to doing what you love most–enjoying a brand new season in a city you love!

Vet Checkups and Vaccinations
Spring is a good time to make sure your pup is up to date on his vaccinations and booster shots, and is a good time to pop in and visit your friendly vet for an overall checkup. In spring, your dog will come back into contact with other dogs while on neighborhood walks, at the dog park, or just out for a run. Because you can’t know what illnesses or vaccines other dogs may have, it’s important to keep your dog up to date to prevent contracting dangerous illnesses. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to have your vet check your dog’s weight, coat and overall health in spring. After a long winter spent indoors, your vet can help give you information about what your pet may or may not need to do to change his routine or lifestyle during this new season spent outdoors.

Ticks, Fleas and Mosquitoes
Unfortunately, warm weather tends to bring out more than your pup and his dog park playmates. In spring, ticks, fleas and mosquitoes come back out and tend to find their way to unknowing pets romping around outdoors. Ask your veterinarian about preventative measures you can take to help keep fleas and ticks from bothering or harming your pet. Because mosquitoes can transmit heartworms, you’ll also want to talk to your vet about preventative heart-worm medicine, and make sure you stay up to date with your dog’s dosage. After spending time outdoors, make sure to check your pup for ticks around the neck, chest, ears, legs and belly. And, try to avoid overly high grass or dank, dark environments where mosquitoes and ticks may thrive.

Beware When Spring Cleaning
While spring may inspire you to dive into a deep clean at home, be careful about what cleaning products you leave out or around your pup. Many cleaning products emit smells that can be appealing to unsuspecting pets, but if ingested, will cause them harm and extreme sickness. Remember to keep household cleaning products locked up and out of reach for your pet at all times. So, while you deep clean, close your pup up in his or her crate, or ask a partner or roommate to take him out for a long walk until products are stored safely away.

Your pet, like you, can have allergies to foods, dust, pollen and more, and when spring arrives, it tends to bring out a variety of potential allergens that can irritate your pup and make him uncomfortable. Watch your pup carefully for signs of allergies, and if you suspect he may be allergic, take him to the vet right away. Itching, sniffing and sneezing are common symptoms of allergies in most dogs, but extreme allergies can result in anaphylactic shock.

Tags and Leashes
Since you know you’ll have your dog out and about more in the coming months, make sure his tags are updated with correct contact information and address. Also, take care to always keep your dog on a leash when not in a designated, off leash area. Your pup’s zest for fresh air and open spaces may inspire him to run off, and while you want him to get his exercise and enjoy his freedom, you probably don’t want to have to worry about him running loose or running away.