By Carol Bryant

Spring-cleaning evokes thoughts of changing the smoke alarm batteries, cleaning the windows and clearing the gutters of debris. When it comes to your dog, there are also things that must be checked and maintained to keep your pet in tip-top season-ready shape.

1. Identification verification
Has your phone number or address changed recently? Check to ensure ID tags are legible, lettering is intact and information is correct and up-to-date.

2. First aid
Check expiration dates and refill any items in the first aid and emergency evacuation kit(s) for your dog.

3. Food safety
Stale food should be avoided, as bacteria can quickly infiltrate improperly stored dog food. Double-check that all containers are airtight and sealed properly. Dispose of any expired canned foods.

4. Pest patrol
Contrary to popular belief, fleas do not take the winter off, and they can often live in a warm residence all winter long. Ticks may feel like a bump on your dog's skin, so thoroughly inspect for any changes in skin or coat.

5. Linen check
Spring is a good time to provide new filler for dog bedding. Year-round, keep your dog's bed linens cleaned and laundered at least weekly. Paws bring plenty of outside germs inside.

6. Dog doctor
Yearly checkups seem to have gone the way of 8-tracks and cassette tapes. Visiting the veterinarian at least twice a year ensures long-term health and well-being for your dog.

7. Dental care
If routine tooth care is not a part of a regular routine, spring is a great time to start or continue this imperative oral-maintenance plan.

8. Ear care
Keep ears clean and in tip-top shape under the direction of your veterinarian. Aside from helping hearing improve, good ear care means less infections and a decreased tendency to form yeast and bacteria.

9. Bowl check

Inspect dog bowls to ensure they are clean and sturdy. Germs and bacteria can easily transfer themselves from bowl to mouth in the swoop of a tongue.

10. Exercise examination
Seeing a few post-winter love handles on your dog? Under the guidance of a vet, be certain that your dog is receiving a proper amount of daily physical and mental stimulation.

Please visit our Daily Cat website for ideas on keeping you cat happy.

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