When Spring arrives, many of us are anxious to get outdoors and and start working hard to clean up our yards, plant gardens and create a beautiful landscape for the warmer months ahead.
By being aware of potential hazards in the outdoors we can keep our pets safe from accidental poisonings and help avoid the emergency trip to the veterinarian.
Some things to watch out for include:
Fertilizers and Herbicides (Weedkillers)
While keeping your plants growing strong and healthy, fertilizers can lead to serious, life-threatening gastrointestinal problems for pets. Make sure to follow the directions carefully and keep pets away while you are applying fertilizers and for the appropriate amount of time after application. Washing your pet’s paws with cool water and soap after being outside will help remove any residue.
The poisons that are used to kill slugs, snails and common pests can also be fatal to your pet. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include the ingredient metaldehyde, found in slug bait, disyston or disulfoton, found in systemic insecticides, and zinc phosphide found in most rat poisons, and mole and gopher bait.
Limit your pet’s access to places where any of these products have been applied and make sure to store these in areas that are inaccessible to your pets.
An increasingly popular choice for many gardeners due to the sweet smell and attractive color. It is a by-product of chocolate production and can be desirable to dogs. If ingested can cause a range of illness from gastrointestinal upset to seizures. Consider using shredded cedar or pine as a less toxic alternative.
There are several popular plants that can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested or chewed on. If your yard already includes these plants, you may wish to consider restricting your pet’s access to them, and/or removing them if you have a pet that likes to chew on branches, or “taste test” things he or she digs up or discovers.
Some common Northwest plants that can cause problems for your pet include:
- Rhododendron and azalea can produce vomiting, drooling, weakness and diarrhea, and in severe cases can lead to death.
- Foxglove can affect your pet’s heart
- Some mushrooms and the Sago Palm can cause liver failure.
- Tulips, English Ivy and even daffodils can cause severe gastrointestinal tract problems
- While members of the lily family are not toxic to dogs, they can be extremely dangerous for cats. Even a very small amount ingested can cause severe kidney damage.
For a list of toxic and non-toxic plants for your yard, you can visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s website HERE.
When in Doubt, DON’T WAIT
If you believe your pet has possibly ingested any poisons or toxins it is important to call your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see if your pet is okay after a period of time. If at all possible have the packaging of the product available for your vet.
If it is after hours, contact a veterinary emergency clinic or call the ASPCA at 1-888-426-4435.