Check Your Pesticides before Letting Dogs Roam Free

Article excerpt

With the warm weather weve been having, its hard to believe its only the middle of April.

Tulips and lilacs are blooming. Everywhere in my neighborhood people are working on their yards raking, weeding, cutting the grass and fertilizing. One of my neighbors even had a load of mulch delivered and spread in the flower beds.

Spring brings out gardeners and more people with their dogs. Dana Farbman, pet poison prevention expert for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Animal Poison Control Center, notes, "Keeping animals safe from accidental poisonings should not end once youve stepped outside. Protecting your pet from potential hazards in your yard is just as critical."

The APCC reports fielding tens of thousands of calls each year involving animal companions who have had potentially hazardous contact with insecticides, pet-toxic plants and weedkillers.

As you plan your flower beds and planting and gardening projects, take a look at and review their extensive list of plants that are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. The list includes descriptions, as well as pictures, of toxic and nontoxic garden plants.

The APCC recommends we watch out for the following potential hazards in our gardens and yards:

* Poisonous Plants: The outdoor plants that are potentially dangerous for our pets include sago palm, rhododendron and azalea. Sago palm and other members of the Cycad family, as well as mushrooms, can cause liver failure. Rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay foxglove and kalanchoe all affect the heart.

* Fertilizer: Ingesting large amounts of fertilizer can give pets a stomachache and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. The APCC recommends following instructions carefully and observing the appropriate waiting period before letting your animal run outside.

* Cocoa Mulch: Cocoa bean shells, a by-product of chocolate production, attracts dogs with its sweet smell and, like chocolate, can cause problems for them. The APCC notes, "Depending on the amount involved, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated hear rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. …