Are your pets prepared for spring?


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/02/2022 (182 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Last week we got an oh-so-brief glimpse of the spring we are all so eagerly anticipating, and it was a reminder that there are a lot of seasonal preparations we need to make before we return to the great outdoors with our pets.

Many people think boots are for winter, and they would be right. Boots are necessary for many pets in winter but they can also make our lives easier in spring.  

There are many brands of non-insulated boots that keep dog paws clean and dry.  Yup, galoshes for pets. The most popular are the balloon-stylee boots. They’re easy to put on, easy to remove, and they keep the feet clean and dry. Yes, folks, dog galoshes are now “a thing” as we prepare for spring.

If boots are not in your wheelhouse, then there are a number of options for cleaning a dog’s paws upon coming in from a muddy walk. Some people use a small pail or pan and a towel. Simple, effective. For those more gadget-oriented, there are “paw washers” on the market.

There are many designs but most featurea  jar big enough for a dog’s paw when half-filled with water. Some have bristles, some don’t, but the main idea is to rinse off as much mud as you can with the water in the jar. Then you dry the paws with much less mud attached.  

Whether you use a paw washer or a pail/tray, drying paws can be an issue. Even if they’re clean, you don’t want wet paws leaving tracks. Again, there are many options for this, from a simple hand towel to fluffy microfibre mitts with strands that grab the remaining water and mud, and are easily tossed in the washer to clean. You can also buy mats made of this material.

The other springtime worry is ticks. We don’t know yet if this is going to be a good or bad tick season but it is generally better to prepare for the worst.

There are large amounts of new data coming out about pesticides and oral medications used for dog tick control. Most of the information  is not good, linking certain products to issues including severe neurological disorders. Please consult with your veterinarian to make sure you know all of the potential side-effects any medications you’re thinking of using.

If you decide to avoid the prescription or chemical route, there are many botanical products that have been found effective by many pet owners. Natural methods may not be as effective but are generally much safer. Doing your research now can make sure you are ready to go when tick season starts.  

Natural methods include sprays, collars, medallions, shampoos, or even food supplements. The idea is to create an environment that ticks will avoid. Most centre on essential oils, such as rose germanium or citronella, and many will be a blend of a number of oils.

Because there are so many options, it is best to research, and to ask people what has worked for them. These are things you need to do in advance, not the night before your first trip to the lake.
Here’s hoping spring is truly around the corner.

Jeff McFarlane

Jeff McFarlane
Pets Are People, Too

Jeff McFarlane is the owner of Thrive Pet Food Market. Contact him with your questions or ideas or visit

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