If dogs - and cats and birds and guinea pigs - are our best friends, a nonprofit in Sumter County is asking you to treat them like one.
Our furry, feathery and feline friends need help in avoiding the springtime blues and getting into the wrong …
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Our furry, feathery and feline friends need help in avoiding the springtime blues and getting into the wrong plant, house cleaner or insecticide, reactions to which can range from minor to life-threatening, according to Shannan Dault, with Sumter SPCA Humane Organization.
Dault, who manages the nonprofit's website, social media, adoptions, PetFinder account and other duties, said each season comes with its own do's and don'ts when it comes to pets interacting with humans and nature and that she sees a lot of animals come into the building after negative consequences of both.
"The first thing you want to do if something happens is contact your vet immediately," she said. "Especially if it's something really serious like a snake bite They'll tell you what to start with before you even make it to the vet. There's certain things you can take to sort of, you know, vomit it up or whatever you need them to do."
Dault said if something serious happens after normal business hours to take the animal to an emergency veterinarian in Columbia - the closest late-night facility location. Calling before you leave or on your way is vital.
"They're going to know what to do before you get there," she said. "And don't hesitate."
Animals get allergies, too.
Dogs and cats can get watery eyes and runny noses in reaction to springtime pollen, just like humans.
While most allergies are not severe or dangerous, Dault said, medication prescribed by a vet can get rid of them. Allergies can spread, too, among pets.
Plants can be bad for pets
Some can even be deadly. Make sure you know what they should avoid and don't plant them in your yard, Dault said, especially if you have a dog that likes to chew on things and explore outside.
Fertilizers, insect spray and cleaners are no-no's
It can be cute and social media share-worthy when dogs roll around in a messy pile of mud or grass, but fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, lawn growth care and other chemicals should not come in contact with animals.
Dault said dogs and other pets should be kept off grass until the spray is dry, and don't let them roll around in fertilizer.
The same goes for indoor cleaning supplies. Make sure any floor cleaners are dry before they can walk on them.
"If you've got a puppy, it's like a kid eating those Tide pods," she said.
Just because we can eat it doesn't mean they can
While it may be more common knowledge to keep dogs away from chocolate, it is especially important to remember that rule with Easter being right around the corner, Dault said.
"They need to eat an excessive amount of it, but it's still not good for them," she said. "And there's a lot of foods [they can't eat]."
Trust your pet-sitter during spring break
Whether you're boarding a pet or leaving it with a friend, make sure you trust the carer as you would with your child.
"Do a background check If you're boarding them in a facility, always ask to see the facility," Dault said. "If you ask and they say 'we don't do that,' don't board there."
Not all animals play nice
Dault said spring is a dangerous time for dogs and cats when snakes start to come out.
"We've had several people come in and adopt a dog because the dog was bitten by a rattlesnake, and it killed them," she said. "If you live in a rural area, be very wary of the surroundings of your pet."
'Possums can be feisty and mean to curious dogs and cats, she said.
Bee stings can look scary and be painful and uncomfortable for dogs, but unless they get stung multiple times, bringing them in to the vet for medicine will make the effects go away without a deadly fright.
While not a wild animal in that token, heartworms are transmitted to pets through mosquitoes, which, as any Southerner knows, are about to swarm in full force.
"The best thing to do is get your pets on a preventative," she said. "A six-month supply is like $30-$40, and it's one pill a month and you're done, but a lot of pet owners just don't do it. Otherwise it's a $500-$1,000 vet bill, and that's three months they have to be in a cage so they can't run around during treatment. And it's very uncomfortable."
She said without heartworm medicine, the issue is not a matter of if, but of when.
For more information on pet care tips and services, visit www.sumterscspca.com.
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