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Is your pet ready for outdoor weather?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) When the weather’s nice, many people like to head outdoors – and their pets do, too. Before you let your pet go outside, make sure you’ve taken steps to prevent pests, care for their skin, and know how to spot signs of allergies.

Fleas and Ticks: Pets are susceptible to a variety of bugs and pests – especially fleas and ticks. Both should be avoided as fleas can trigger allergies and dermatitis in pets as well as infectious diseases in people and pets. Ticks may also carry diseases that can be harmful to pets. However, in a survey by the American Pet Products Association, only 64 percent of dog owners and 41 percent of cat owners purchased a flea and tick product for their pet last year. Be sure to purchase preventative topical treatments like K9 Advantix® II for dogs only or Advantix® II for dogs or cats to protect your pet. And after pets go outdoors, inspect them carefully for ticks and other insects to ensure their safety.

Grooming: A winter indoors often leaves pets with dry skin, tangled fur and a thick undercoat, which begins to shed when the weather warms. A professional grooming salon, like those found in PetSmart stores, will help keep pets cool with services like a bath, brush or hair cut to remove loose hair. Have their skin and coat moisturized with a hypoallergenic conditioner for a softer, shinier coat. Medicated flea and tick baths or spot treatments can also be added for instant relief and to help prevent flea and ticks from returning.

Allergies: Warm weather lets loose high amounts of pollen in many areas of the country and since pets can experience allergic reactions to inhaled particles like dust or pollen, pet parents should be on the lookout for signs that their pet may be suffering from allergies. Dr. Simon Starkey, veterinary expert for PetSmart, says you should monitor your pet’s behavior and consult your veterinarian if your pet exhibits reactions such as:

• Swelling or irritation of the skin, especially around the eyes, face, head and feet.

• Hives, rashes, blisters, clear discharge from eyes or nostrils, sneezing, itching and mild discomfort may also be present.

• Pets may also chew on or lick their feet constantly.

• Allergy treatment for pets varies based on severity, but usually includes antihistamines and other medications to control the allergic reaction.

To learn more about pet essentials and services for spring, visit a store near you or www.petsmart.com.

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