Pet Hints for the Spring Season

From the ASPCA News Alert:  http://www.aspca.org/News/National/03-18-11-1

The ASPCA wants to remind folks to take care when planning (or planting) their springtime gardens.  When spring temperatures start to rise, many homeowners begin using fertilizers and pesticides in their yards and gardens as well as start planting new flowers, trees, shrubs, etc. Unfortunately many pets accidentally become exposed to these potential poisons. Some very helpful recommendations given to owners (along with prompt intervention) can lead to healthy outcomes for these pets.

When designing and planting your green space, keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs, and may cause liver failure or heart problems.

When walking your dog, take care to keep Fido off the grass and away from toxic lawn and garden products. Cocoa mulch—a byproduct of chocolate—is especially problematic because it attracts dogs with its sweet smell and can cause them gastrointestinal distress or more serious neurological problems if consumed in large quantities.

Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide, and most forms of rat poisons.

Unattended garden tools may seem like no big deal, but rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can be hazardous to pets and cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of a curious pet’s body. Please leave all unused tools in a safe area, not haphazardly scattered on the ground.

If you think your pet may have ingested a poisonous garden product:

  1. Bring in the packaging and the product that is left (in a sealed plastic zippered bag if possible) from the fertilizer or pesticide with you to the veterinarian.
  2. If no packaging is available, then the EPA registration number (abbreviated EPA reg.) will usually greatly narrow down the possible products and, more importantly, the category of pesticide or fertilizer. This will help the veterinarian to be able to give specific treatment recommendations. (Though not all fertilizers will have EPA registration numbers.)
  3. If a specific plant is involved, bring the plant identification tag to provide the common name (or names) and the genus and species name of the plant. If there is no tag, tell your veterinarian what you think the name of the plant is.  Take a photo of the plant, if you are able to bring to the veterinarian as well. This will help them confirm which plant your pet has ingested and determine what treatment is needed. 
  4. If possible, take the plant to a local nursery or a florist for identification.

For a complete list of tips, check out our online guide to Pet-Safe Gardening. Now, get thee to a nursery and have a safe spring season!

You can also check out our recent post on common pet toxins and what to do if you think your pet has been poisoned.

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