Spring into action now that spring has sprung to ensure your pet is prepared for the warmer weather. You will need to groom your pet to remove the remains of its winter coat and you should watch for the hundreds of fleas and ticks that areorganising their assault on your pets. These nasty parasites have just stirred after their winter's rest. Mosquitoes are all a buzz and are ready to spread heartworm disease in a bite. Even flies and worms are set to worry your pets. But, pounce on prevention and you can be done with the cure!

The hair of the dog

Have you noticed the tumbleweeds of cat and dog hair wafting over the floor lately? It's a sign that you need to get into grooming to make your pet more comfortable and to prevent further fur balls making a mess in your house. At present, you should be grooming your pets on a daily basis to remove their winter coat.

There is a fascinating range of products designed to make grooming easier. The Zoom Groom is a nylon brush with large, soft tongs which will gently strip the dead hair from your pet's coat. Zoom Grooms are available for dogs and cats and come in several colours. An added advantage of the Zoom Groom is that, being nylon, it can also be used to massage shampoos into your pet's coat - just the thing when you are planning your pet's Spring clean!

Also, look for Slicker brushes. These brushes have dual level pins on a cushioned pad with a curved head. The long and short pins work at two levels to remove the mats and the dead hair that make your pet shabby.

For long-haired pets or those with thick hair, now is a good time to have them professionally clipped. They will feel so much more comfortable after the removal of their hot coat of heat-trapping hair. Clipping will allow them to cool down much easier and will lessen the chance of heat stroke during the summer months. Ugly mats of hair that trap foreign bodies and that pinch your pet's skin will also be removed.

Remember to check your pet daily for grass seeds, especially around the feet and ears.

Hop into flea control

Now that the warm weather is with us, the creeping, crawling, gnashing, nasty, nibbling, bloodsucking, ferocious Aussie flea is on the prowl! Thankfully, there is a large range of 'state of the art' flea control products available which are effective and safe.

Most pet owners are now turning to the 'spot on the back of the neck' preparations which are easy to use, safe and effective. These products, such as Advantage and Advocate, come in small vials that you squeeze onto your pet's neck once a month.

Advocate is a multi-purpose product that combines imidacloprid (Advantage) with moxidectin so it kills fleas, as well as prevents heartworm, hookworm and roundworm in dogs and cats, plus whipworm in dogs, and controls lice and ear mites in cats, and mange and lice in dogs with monthly application.

Make mosquitos buzz off

Mosquitos spread heartworm disease and are much more prevalent in warm weather - not that they are a scarcity in winter either. Many pet owners incorrectly stop their pet’s heartworm preventive in the cooler months thinking that their pet is safe. This is not so. If you have missed a tablet or two, contact your vet and ask for a heartworm test. If it shows that all is clear, place your pooch (and puss cat) onto a heartworm preventive medication. Many pet owners are now using the once-per-month preventives for their pets, such as Advocate.

There is also a new Once-A-Year heartworm preventative available from your veterinarian that gives your dog 12 months protection from heartworm disease in one dose. The injection is administered by your vet and can be used in all dogs from 3 months of age.

Flies are a worry

While talking about things that won't buzz off, a variety of flies also cause pets problems. Dogs regularly suffer from fly bite dermatitis on, of all places, their ear tips. Similar problems can occur when flies are attracted to discharges that are present around the eyes, mouth and nose of pets. The stable fly is the most common culprit. It rasps away at the ears of dogs and causes crusty, bleeding sores to develop. This problem can be prevented by spraying the dog with Musca-Ban Spray as needed, or by mixing the Permoxin with Vaseline, baby oil, or a mixture of both, and smearing that onto the dog's ears. (Do not use Permoxin on cats at any time as pyrethrin products are highly toxic to cats. Various fly repellant ointments are also available.

Around worm control

Lastly, the beginning of a new season is always the best time to ensure your dog and cat have been wormed. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are a problem for dogs and cats during the warmer months and dogs can also be infected with whipworms. As a routine, adult pets should be wormed every three months. Look for an all-wormer medication, such as Drontal, as this is likely to eliminate all types of intestinal worms your pets may have. Profender is the world's first spot-on intestinal wormer for cats. If your pet is on a monthly heartworm/intestinal worm combination, it is still neccesary to treat for tapeworms every three months (or 6 weeks in hydatid areas i.e. on farms or anywhere access to sheep or their droppings may occur).

Shed the winter kilos

Many pet owners think that a bit of extra weight is not a concern. However, overweight pets are predisposed to serious conditions including arthritis, pancreatitis, diabetes (especially with cats) and even cardiovascular disease. So, if your think your pet is overweight its time to talk to your vet about a weight reduction program.

Having attended to the above, you will not be wondering whether your pet will weather summer weather well!