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Spring tips for small animals

Spring is now upon us and families across the UK are ready to give their house a good clear out and enjoy more time in the garden, often with their pets.

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Eating outside

As the sun comes out, rabbits and guinea pigs might spend more time outside but do remember to keep their diet consistent. Changing their diet all of a sudden can cause serious tummy problems. This includes allowing your pet to graze on lots of lush green grass when they have mainly had hay over the winter to a sudden increase in a number of greens and fresh vegetables.

Did you know flowers and plants can be poisonous?

Rhododendron, azaleas, lilies, daffodils and spring bulbs are among those plants which are most toxic to pets and all access should be avoided where possible. Also, remember to not feed your pets lawn mower clippings and always wash fresh food before feeding.

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Garden

The warmer weather and the smell of freshly cut grass and flowers blooming means spending time gardening becomes more appealing in spring. This can bring pets into contact with sharp tools and toxic chemicals.

All gardening tools should be returned to the shed or garage once they have finished being used so that your pet doesn’t accidentally injure themselves on the sharp points and edges.

Many chemicals such as fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and slug and snail pellets (metaldehyde) are very harmful to pets if accidentally consumed, and therefore should be used very carefully.

Owners should adhere to the recommended waiting period before letting their pet back into the garden after using gardening products.
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Spending time outdoors

Rabbits and guinea pigs don’t tolerate heat well and are very susceptible to heatstroke so always make sure there are shaded areas for your pet to enjoy. You may need to consider moving their hutch or run to a cooler area such as a north-facing wall or perhaps into a cool garage. Make sure their drinking water never runs out and check them regularly to ensure they are comfortable and don’t overheat.

It is not uncommon to get bouts of snow and frosty weather in spring so make sure your furry friends’ home is protected from adverse weather conditions and provide them with ways of keeping warm, such as lots of extra bedding. Check their water supply daily to make sure it doesn’t freeze.

Spring is typically wet and mild which means the risk of flystrike is very high. Check your pets daily for fly eggs or maggots and keep their environment clean and dry. For more information on this life-threatening condition click here.

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Clearing out

It is always advisable to keep an eye on your pet whilst clearing out drawers, wardrobes, garages and sheds. Avoid leaving objects lying around as pets may be tempted to play with new items they see on the floor. Especially the smallest and seemingly innocent household objects are often the ones causing harm.
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Cleaning

Be careful with cleaning products, paints, and solvents, as they can be toxic to pets and may result in poisoning if ingested or inhaled.

When using any cleaning or decorating products, pets should be kept in another room away from the potentially harmful chemicals and fumes.

Opening windows and doors can help disperse any fumes quickly, but if your pet is kept in a cage it is best to keep them in a different room altogether as they won't be able to escape the smell even if they wanted to.