Springtime can be a dangerous time for furry companions

Did you know spring time can be very dangerous for your pet?

While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.

When designing and planting your green space it’s a good idea to keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants — including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea — are toxic to cats and dogs.

Sago palm and other members of the cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay and foxglove all affect the heart.

Please check with your local greenhouse or check out the full list from the ASPCA website of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden.

Besides poisonous plants there are fertilizers, cocoa mulch, and insecticides that can be harmful.

You’re doing the right thing for your garden and Mother Earth when you’re composting but depending on what you’re tossing in the compost bin, they can also pose problems for your pets.

Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruit and vegetables are toxic to dogs and cats, so read up on people food to avoid feeding your pets.

Since fleas and ticks lurk in tall brush and grasses, it’s important to keep those lawns mowed and trimmed. Fleas can cause excessive scratching, hair loss, scabs, hot spots and tapeworms as well as anemia and blood loss in both cats and dogs. Ticks can cause similar effects and lead to a variety of complications from tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

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.

Rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt may also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin.
While cats don’t appear to be susceptible as dogs to tetanus, care should be taken by storing all unused tools in a safe area, not haphazardly strewn on the ground.

Pets have allergies to foods, dust and even plants. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can even cause live-threatening anaphylactic shock if the reaction is severe. If you do suspect your pet has an allergy, please don’t give him any medication that isn’t prescribed by a veterinarian.

It’s also smart to keep your pet out of other people’s yards, especially if you’re unsure of what kinds of plants or flowers lurk there.

Keeping your pet off the lawn of others will make for healthy pets and happy neighbors.

Sharon Johnson is the assistant director at the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter.


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