Prepare your dog for the upcoming change in season with this Springtime Checklist of dog care advice to keep your buddy happy and healthy this year!

Finally, the glorious spring season is upon us – warmer weather and sunshine are here or on the way depending where you live. Just as you’re preparing your home with an annual springtime cleaning (it’s a tradition, after all), it’s also the perfect time to work on your dog’s ‘Springtime Checklist.’

Read on for practical and fun tips to prepare your pup for the change in seasons. As always, any Woof Report product picks are handpicked and not advertisements.

Keep Your Dog Flea & Tick-Free and Healthy…

Flee the Flea. If your dog is not on year-round flea and tick preventatives, the warmer weather is your signal to begin administering them. Whether you use popular flea and tick treatments or combat fleas without chemicals, be sure your pets are protected. See which brand name flea and tick products could harm your pet or young children at the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory. Also, after playing outdoors or hiking with your dog, check his or her entire body for ticks so that they can be removed immediately.

Say No to Heartworm. The warmer weather is also the time to begin administering heartworm preventatives if your dog is not already taking them year-round as recommended. Schedule a vet exam to ensure your dog’s heartworm-free, a necessary step before a prescription can be written for preventatives.

Safety First. Create a dog first aid kit or update your current kit so you have it handy for outdoor excursions, and considering purchasing the ingenious Pet First Aid Bandana from Wag’N. The bandana is printed with symptoms and treatments for common pet-related emergencies, and Wag’N also offers great pet first aid kits. Lastly, check with your vet to make sure your dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date.

Planting Prep. Spring’s beautiful flowers and blooming gardens can also be hazardous to your pets. Read about pet-toxic plants and pet-safe gardening tips from the ASPCA.

… Clean,

Primp Your Pup. Help your dog feel refreshed with a thorough spring cleaning. Schedule a trip to the groomer for a wash and trim, or purge your old shampoo and cleaning gear and set up your own doggie spa. Try a new dog wash and conditioner, like the all-natural line from Molly Mutt Clean, or invest one of the new models of de-shedding tools from Furminator to help thin your dog’s winter coat.

And start a grooming routine to keep your dog feeling (and smelling!) great. Clean your dog’s ears the easy way with Ear-Clens pads, which you swipe in your dog’s ear flaps and upper ear canal to clean dirt and wax, and use all natural Earthbath Grooming Wipes, to give your dog a quick cleaning between baths. Don’t forget regular brushing, nail trimming and a routine to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

De-Grime Your Dog’s Gear. While you’re in the cleaning mode, wash and freshen your dog’s bedding, clean your dog’s toys (see Woof Report’s past tip on cleaning your dog’s toys), and discard or repair them as needed. Clean, wash and disinfect your dog’s bowls, placemats, and grooming supplies too. And check the dates on your dog treats, discarding those with expired ‘use by’ dates.

… and Indulged!

Spring Fashion, Dog-Style. Freshen up your dog’s wardrobe with a colorful new spring collar. Find top picks in Woof’s latest tip, “Fresh and Fun Spring Dog Collars.” Speaking of collars, update any outdated or hard to read information on your dog’s ID tags as needed

Plan a Getaway. Make your plans now for a spring or early summer weekend getaway – with your dog as your travel buddy, of course. With more and more hotels, motels and B & Bs accepting dogs of all sizes, the options are endless. Take a look at Woof Report’s past tip on sniffing out dog-friendly accommodations, complete with the top dog-friendly travel websites to help you plan the perfect escape.

Find Some Fun. In addition to getting shape with your dog by spending with more time exercising outdoors, make a plan to participate in fun new activities with your pup. Enroll in an agility or training class, look into dock diving, hike with your dog, or attend a major league baseball “Dog Days” game (more details on the latter coming soon in Woof Report).

Plus, Lend a Paw.

Help your Local Shelters. As you embark on your spring cleaning routine, keep your local animal shelters in mind. They will gratefully accept your donations of basic, everyday needs. To find out what your community shelters need, give them a call and in the meantime, set aside these often requested items: kennels, carriers, cozy pet beds, bedding and blankets, towels and cleaning supplies such as bleach, sponges, and laundry detergent. And there’s more: baby gates, digital cameras, gently used Kongs, dog toys, dog collars and leashes, and various office supplies.


Thank you to oxherder on flickr for the photo of Jake.

Reviewed/Updated October 2016.