Summertime is here! It’s been a harsh, cold winter and the longer, warmer days bring a sense of being happy and carefree! There are more opportunities to be outside with your beloved furry friends and while you’re taking advantage of longer, more enjoyable walks, they are taking advantage of so many new smells. It’s also a time when many of us get involved with gardening and lawn maintenance. There are some important things to keep in mind regarding springtime, gardening and our four-legged friends.
Springtime brings flowers and while we may be attracted to their colors, our dogs and cats are attracted to their fragrance. Beware! There are several that are toxic to pets. Daffodils can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and possibly respiratory distress in dogs and cats. Tulips and Hyacinths are flowers that grow from bulbs and the bulbs contain a substance that is toxic to dogs. Dogs that like to dig should be kept away from these plants as biting into a bulb can cause excessive drooling, vomiting and even diarrhea. Lilies, common especially around Eastertime, and some of the first to bloom in gardens in the summer, are particularly fatal to cats. Easter lilies, Asiatic lilies and others in the Lilium group are the hazardous culprits. These are so toxic to cats that severe kidney failure can develop quite quickly if a cat bites into a lily leaf or petal, licks lily pollen from its paws, or drinks water from a vase holding lilies. This kidney failure can come on quickly and requires immediate veterinary attention. Calla lilies and Peace lilies are not of the Lilium family and do not cause harm to animals. A type of Crocus which blossoms later in the season called the Autumn Crocus can be very harmful and even fatal to our pets.
Pesticides and insecticides are other products of which we should be aware. While they usually cause only mild irritation if ingested by our dogs or cats, the concentrated forms can be quite harmful. Fertilizers like bone or blood meal help our outdoor plants grow but it’s important to remember that dogs enjoy the scent and taste of these products and ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea and gastric obstruction. Some fertilizers can be very toxic. One example is a rose fertilizer that contains a chemical called disulfoton. An amount as small as a teaspoon of this can be fatal to a medium-sized dog. Generally, lawn fertilizers are reasonably safe when applied correctly according to instructions. A good practice is to keep pets off the lawn until any liquid fertilizer is dry or until a dry fertilizer has worked into the soil.
While devoting time to healthy lawns and flower gardens is a great pastime, we also need to keep in mind the health of our beloved dogs and cats as well. Keep containers of lawn care products out of the reach of pets. Save labels or containers so that if your pet does ingest something, this information will help your veterinarian find the best treatment. In addition to your own vet, a good resource with which to be familiar is the Pet Poison Helpline. This is a service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While there is a charge to call this organization, the website has a lot of good, free information. Bookmark it as one of your favorites for easy access: www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners. (It’s the source we used for this article.)
Yes, spring and summer are times for being outside and enjoying sunshine and fresh air! And it’s also a time to keep our four-legged friends safe and healthy so we can enjoy their company on those nice long summer days filled with walks, hikes and napping in the hammock!
April is a month for raising awareness about preventing animal cruelty. There are a number of ways that you can help. By following some of the measures below and encouraging others to do the same, we can work together to help improve the lives of our animal friends. These steps in the right direction often help others make a change in their choices also.
Buy cage-free eggs and grass-fed beef. Buying cruelty-free products helps endorse companies that make an effort to treat their animals with respect. Additionally, often these products are much better for you and less packed with artificial growth hormones or other unhealthy substances. Whenever possible buy directly from local farmers in your communities.
April showers bring May flowers and April also brings awareness to a couple of pet health problems that can be prevented. The American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) offers the following information about these two very serious canine health problems.
April is Lyme Disease Prevention in Dogs Month and National Heartworm Awareness Month.
These two diseases are becoming more serious in our canine friends here in northern New
England than they were in the past.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) reminds us that March brings Poison Prevention Week, March 15 to 21.
While the emphasis may well focus on raising awareness about household items that are poisonous to children, it’s important to remember that many things in the home are also poisonous to our pets – cats, dogs and yes, even birds and other pets. The AVMA advises that raisins and grapes can be fatal to our canine family members and some plants, such as lilies are poisonous for our feline friends. Some kinds of nuts, such as macadamia nuts can cause paralysis in dogs and sadly, the most potent poisons for our pets are human medications. It’s important to know that many items commonly found in our homes can cause our loyal and beloved animal friends to become critically and perhaps even fatally ill. These items range from foods that they may enjoy eating, but shouldn’t, to cleaning chemicals and prescription drugs.
There are a number of reliable resources available to learn more about items commonly found in our homes that are poisonous to our pets.
February is Be a Responsible Pet Owner Month! There are a number of ways by which we can be “pawsome,” responsible pet parents. It takes lots of love and commitment. Bringing a pet into your home is a lifelong relationship and there are a few basic steps to showing how much you care.