Those fragrant flowers, budding shrubs and lush green grass in the yard might look bright and pretty, but they also have a dark, ugly side - they may be sickening, or even killing, your pet.
Springtime is an especially dangerous season for curious pets who unknowingly nose around in plants that are poisonous if ingested and the fertilizers used to help them grow, so pet parents must take precautions, animal welfare advocates warn.
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“Spring represents a time of growth and renewal, but not everything that springs forth this season is good for dogs,” Liam Crowe, a dog behavioral therapist with Bark Busters training company, states in a media release. “With a little awareness and a few simple precautions, dog owners can prevent many of the problems that arise with warmer weather and keep their dogs safe and healthy.”
Inquisitive dogs might mistaken fragrant spring blooms for tasty snacks, but many plants are toxic and can cause severe illness, or even death, if ingested, according to Bark Busters.
Lawns treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides pose danger for dogs, so keep pets off them until these potentially toxic treatments have completely dried, Bark Busters advises.
The American Veterinary Medical Association also warns about the many potential hazards that spring ushers in for pets, which include the household cleaners used for the seasonal spruce-up of homes and yards.
"Spring cleaning is an annual tradition in many households, but make sure the cleaning products don't hurt your animals," AVMA states in a media release. "If the label states 'keep pets and children away from area until dry,' follow those instructions carefully, and store all chemicals out of reach of children and pets."AVMA says pet parents should especially beware of the following springtime hazards:
- Rhubarb leaves. Rhubarb, a staple in many vegetable gardens, makes a fine pie, but the leaves are poisonous and can cause kidney failure.
- Lilies. Lilies are a flower common in the spring, and they are very toxic to cats. But cats will often chew them, and even small amounts can lead to kidney failure and death.
- Coco bean mulch. The fragrant spent shells of coco beans are commonly used to mulch gardens. But like chocolate, dogs like to eat them and they are toxic.
- Lawn fertilizers. They are very toxic to pets. Store them in a place far from where your dog or cat can get at them. After applying fertilizers to a lawn, follow the manufacturer instructions regarding the period for keeping pets off. Abide by signs posted on lawns that tell you to keep your pets off.
- Pesticides and herbicides. Even if not lethal, they can cause long-term health problems. Studies indicate the use of pesticides and herbicides may be tied to increased rates of specific forms of cancer in dogs. If your pet is exposed, wash them with soap and water immediately and call your veterinarian.
- Rat and mouse poisons. Controlling vermin becomes an issue again in the spring. Be aware that the same properties of common rat and mouse poisons that make them irresistible to pests will also attract pets. These poisons can be fatal to pets.
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- Paint and paint thinners. Keep the pets away when using paint. Thinners, mineral spirits and other solvents can cause severe irritation or chemical burns if swallowed or even if they come in contact with your pet's skin. Latex house paints typically produce a minor stomach upset, but some specialty paints may contain heavy metals or volatile substances that could be harmful if inhaled or ingested.
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