Five Warm Weather Safety Tips for Your Dog

By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Trainer and Blogger

With warmer weather coming on and folks getting outside … cleaning their garages, putting fertilizer on grass, plants, etc. … the risks of dogs ingesting fertilizer, antifreeze, etc. as well as eating your new plants increases.  Here are some safety tips for your dog.

There are hundreds of varieties of garden fertilizers on the market. While most of them are not harmful to our pets, some contain iron, insecticides, or other compounds that can be quite dangerous. These compounds will be listed on the product label so it is a good idea to have that close by when calling for assistance.

* Snail Baits    There are many non-toxic methods to deter pests in the garden or the lawn, however, a large number of commercial garden molluscicides and insecticides do contain ingredients highly toxic to domestic animals. A particular ingredient, metaldehyde, causes life threatening convulsions and seizures when eaten in even small quantities. Please read the ingredients and keep them far away from your pets.

* Tulips    These beautiful flowers can be irritating to the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Life-threatening toxicity is not likely, but medications may need to be administered to calm a queasy stomach. Be sure to keep the bulbs away from pets as they have the potential for more serious toxicity.

* Grass Seeds    Tiny grass seeds, even if they are treated with fungicides, are rarely considered toxic. Real danger can present, however, if a dog eats large quantities of the seeds which can clump up in the stomach resulting in gastric obstruction. This may result in a trip to your veterinarian and surgery to remove the foreign body. Care needs to be taken as well to keep these tiny seeds our pet’s eyes, ear, nose, and footpads.

As you work outside be sure to take an extra moment or two to protect your pets:
1. Teach your dog the “LEAVE IT” command
2. Read all package instructions carefully before any applying products to your lawn or garden.
3. Be sure not only that it is safe to use around your pets but that you are mixing or applying it correctly.
4. Check with your local garden center about the safety of plants you are putting in your garden.
5. Finally, be sure to close the top tightly on all containers and put them in an area where your pets do not have access to them.

In most cases of household poisoning, early detection and treatment increase the chances of complete recovery. If you think your pet may have been poisoned, note what he has eaten and how much, the estimated time of ingestion and any problems he is experiencing. Immediately call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour emergency hot line at (888) 426-4435. There will be a $60 credit-card charge per case.

If you would like to research pesticides you can call National Pesticide Information Center’s toll free number at 800 858-7378
Or check out these sites on the web:
National Pesticide Information Center
Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs

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