As the weather warms up, your dog is likely to get increasingly more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and to get some exercise. Unfortunately, warm weather also makes insect life outside more active and more likely to create problems for your canine companion.

Pests are more than just a nuisance for dogs. They can create severe health issues that compromise your pet's well being. By doing the following five things this spring, you can ensure that your dog is protected from pests and able to fully enjoy the pleasant spring weather:

Give your home a good spring cleaning

Spring cleaning is a healthy practice for both human and animal household members alike. Disinfecting surfaces and packing away food will allow you to avoid attracting insect pests to your home's interior. 

It's a good idea for pet owners to consider a thorough grooming as an important part of carrying out the spring cleaning at their home. Simply keeping your dog's fur cut short will not only allow for greater comfort, but also can prevent pests from making a home in shaggy and overgrown fur. 

Be aware of heartworms

Heartworms are an internal parasite that can cause severe health problems in dogs. They are spread by mosquitoes and are especially prevalent in warmer, more humid areas of the country where mosquitoes proliferate.

However, heartworms can potentially infect dogs living just about anywhere in the country. You should discuss heartworms with a veterinarian and have your dog checked for worms during annual checkups.

Look out for ticks

Ticks can spread a variety of health problems to dogs including Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks can also create a health threat for humans, and pets sometimes bring them into homes and put them into close contact with people who they may bite and infect. 

If you frequently walk in wooded areas with your dog, you probably want to spray tick repellent to keep these insects away.

Fight fleas

Fleas can also spread a lot of health conditions to dogs including anemia and internal parasites like tapeworms. When you have your dog groomed for the spring, you may want to include a flea treatment that will repel fleas during the coming months. 

Have a checkup with the vet

The mid spring is a good time to have a vet checkup. During a vet checkup, your veterinarian can test your pet's feces for the presence of worms. You can also question your vet on any particular pest problems that you should be aware of in your geographical area as the weather warms up.