It's Spring (almost)! That means everyone — including your dog — is looking forward to lots more time outside.
This is prime time for yard beautification, too. You plant flowers and gardens, build a swing set for the kids, a new fence for Fido, and you’re psyched to finally put in a storage shed.
But have you taken the time to make sure that everything is safe for your furry friends?
**Cue ominous music**
Every year, many animals are injured — or even killed — because of hidden yard dangers. And it's not just the plants and other materials in your yard — you need to keep a watchful eye on what's available to your dog on neighborhood walks, too.
The biggest concern are plants that are dangerous when ingested. If your dog ingests one of these and shows any odd symptoms, be sure to bring the plant with you to the vet.
Here are the top 10 things to beware of in your yard:
Not all lilies are toxic. The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are “true” lilies including the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies. While toxic to dogs, they are HIGHLY toxic to cats. Just a couple petals can be very dangerous.
Though beautiful and fragrant, hydrangeas can cause serious gastrointestinal issues when ingested. Symptoms include vomiting, depression/lethargy, and diarrhea.
The greatest danger is the actual bulb (not the flower). These beauties can cause vomiting, extreme salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, low blood pressure, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmias.
By mid-Spring (after the daffodils have come and gone) this shouldn't be much of a concern unless your dog actually digs up the bulbs and eats them, which is unlikely. But still, yikes.
4. Oleander (also known as Rose-Bay)
These blooms are gorgeous, but their flowers are very toxic. When ingested, according to the ASPCA, they can cause colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, incoordination, shallow/difficult breathing, muscle tremors, and possibly death from cardiac failure.
Even the leaves and stems are dangerous, so it’s really best to keep your guy far away.
These are very dangerous to animals. In addition to the usual gastrointestinal symptoms, you may also see things like confusion, lack of coordination, or even paralysis.
While fertilized grass isn’t harmful to your animals per se, it’s best to keep your dog away from the fertilizer itself. Keep him inside while any sprays are being put down (and for a few hours afterward), so he doesn't get anything on his paws that can be licked off.
7. Wooden Swing Sets
Wooden play sets produced prior to 2003 may have arsenic-treated wood, which is toxic to both people and animals. Keep all swing sets in good shape and painted as needed to prevent splintering.
The splinters can be dangerous should your dog step on them (or try to eat them, because dogs will eat anything). Also, wooden play sets have a habit of drawing bees and wasps. Ask your exterminator for tips on keeping those at bay.
Which brings us to...
8. Bees / Ticks / Stinging Insects
In addition to living on wooden play sets, stinging insects like to make their nests in or around homes, and mosquitoes breed in standing water (that includes your koi pond). Mosquitoes can carry heartworm and West Nile virus.
Ticks are typically found around tree-filled areas, but they can be anywhere — and they looove dogs. In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can also carry ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and others.
If you find a tick, don't try to remove it yourself unless you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing. Check out this how-to guide to learn more.
9. Garages / Storage Sheds
Garages and storage sheds usually become giant dumping grounds for all sorts of random / old stuff — including a few particular products that could prove dangerous to your pets (and kids). Among these are: yard fertilizers, insecticides, and antifreeze.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol (EG), is extremely dangerous to dogs and cats (and people).
Sources of ethylene glycol include automotive antifreeze, windshield de-icing agents, motor oils, hydraulic brake fluid, developing solutions for photography, paints, solvents, etc. Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal unless treated immediately.
Fences, in general, are good. But fences in disrepair? Not so good.
If Fido sees a squirrel on the other side, he may try to squeeze through a small hole, or slide underneath. This can lead to scrapes and other injuries from metal fence parts that are sticking out — not to mention a potential lost dog.
Walk the perimeter of your fence from time to time to keep an eye out for any holes or other dangers. If you have a wooden fence, this is also a good opportunity to inspect for stinging insects.
What To Do In an Emergency
If you notice symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, etc., the first thing to do is consult your vet. They will most likely ask you about your yard and home and potential dangers your pet may have encountered.
A healthy dog is a happy dog. Please share this information with your friends and family so they know what to look for as well.
If all this has freaked you out and you want to show your dog some extra love this week, we recommend Millie the Cow. Or better yet — spoil him completely with a box full of organic treats and toys. A nutritionally balanced, happy dog has fewer urges to nibble on potentially toxic plants.
Authored by Rebecca Paciorek via FetchFind