Prepare your dog for the upcoming change in season with this springtime checklist with dog care advice to keep your buddy happy and healthy.

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 purchase a kit, like this compact one on so you have it handy for outdoor excursions, and considering purchasing the ingenious Pet First Aid Bandana from Wag’N Pet. The bandana is printed with symptoms and treatments for common pet-related emergencies. 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. Learn which plants and flowers are toxic to pets.

… 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 plant-based dog and puppy shampoo or invest in a 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 pre-moistened ear cleansing pads, which you swipe in your dog’s ear flaps and upper ear canal to clean dirt and wax, and use top-rated waterless formulas and deodorizing sprays from Wahl 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. While you’re at it, update any outdated or hard to read information on your dog’s ID tags if 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. Check out The Dog List for a listing of the best sites for dog-friendly travel planning and plan the perfect escape!

Find Some Fun. In addition to getting in 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 and in the meantime, check out a past Dog Days MLB schedule).

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.