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Warmer weather, pets and pests

Posted by David Epstein  March 12, 2012 04:48 AM

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We have already had a few tastes of spring-like temperatures this month and it's only going to get warmer from here on out. This time of the year not only are we excited to enjoy the fine weather so too are our pets, especially dogs, anxious to get outside. There are few weather related tips that will help ensure a great spring and summer for our 4 legged friends.

The sun by the middle of March is as strong as it was back at the end of September. This means you can get actually get a March sun burn if you spend a few hours in the sun. Just ask any spring skier who has come home with a major sunburn after a day of skiing. Also, as you have probably noticed, you car now gets quite warm if it sits in the sun for very long. As the angle of the sun increases, the strength of the sun also increases. Your car acts like a mini greenhouse allowing the ultraviolet rays of the sun in, and trapping the heat.

Even in March, if the windows are closed and your car is parked in the sunshine, the temperature inside your car can exceed 90°F in a relatively short period of time . Over the next week, we will have some days that will get warm enough so that the inside of a car can become unhealthy for our pets. If you leave your pet in the car, be sure open the windows enough for good air circulation and also leave a dish of water. I put mine on the floor so if they spill it, the mess is less.

Also, as tempting as it might be to let Fido hang his head out the window it is very dangerous. One of the biggest dangers comes from debris that can fly through the air towards your car off the road. Think about what a small rock does to your windshield as you travel down the highway at 55 miles per hour. Now think about that same rock hitting your pet in the eye, or teeth. I love my vet, but I don't need to see him for pet issues that I can easily avoid.

During the nice weather I leave the dogs on the back deck to enjoy the sunshine. Sometimes I notice they get themselves overheated because they lay in the sun too long. Remember, leave a water dish outside and move it into the shade. This encourages the dog to get out of the sun.

Ticks
These horrible creatures really never had a dormant period this winter. It was so warm all winter I found ticks on the dogs in December and February. Everyone has a different philosophy about treating their pets for fleas and ticks. Not matter what you do, it's a good idea to check them and also check yourself if you have been outside working in the yard. I think this is going to be a very bad tick season due the lack of cold during the winter.

This month seems to be shaping up to be another unusually warm month with above normal temperatures and little if any additional snow. Next up, are we going to have a drought with all this warm and dry weather?


Gardening Tip
In the next few weeks pansies will appear in the garden centers and you can put them out to give you a splash of color. If the temperature goes below 26 degrees, it's a good idea to protect them or move them inside overnight. For more tips about gardening click here.

Follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

David Epstein has been a professional meteorologist and horticulturalist for three decades. David spent 16 years at WCVB in Boston and currently freelances for WGME in Portland, ME. In 2006, More »
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