Monday, March 21, 2011

Your Pets in the Garden

A sign at the West Barnstable Village store got me thinking about spring - it's almost here.

I recently took a refresher First Aid and CPR class for pets, I thought I'd cover a few important points about plants and garden products. Did you know that grapes are bad for dogs? Neither did I. Read on...

Many common plants are toxic to pets, including grapes, onions, garlic, tomato plants, azaleas, rhododendrons, mushrooms, lily of the valley, holly and many more. Some plants are harmful to cats but not dogs and so forth. If you're unfamiliar with these plants, check out the awesome toxic plant guide published by the ASPCA that provides an illustrated list with both toxic and non-toxic plants that can be sorted by whether they are dangerous for dogs, cats or horses.

That's not to say you can't have these plants in your yard but you should know what your pup in munching on while you rake and till. You may want to clean up leaf litter or fence off sections of your yard if you can't keep Fluffy away from a worrisome plant.

More likely to cause problems are garden products that can contain very strong ingredients. Various baits can easily be licked up by dogs or cats and the aroma that attracts the pests may appear very tasty to your curious beast. Naturally, rodent bait is a big health risk and can be carried by critters from where you placed it (or your neighbors placed it) to where your animals can find it. Fertilizers and insecticides of all types should be stored safely and used judiciously to avoid contact with your furry friends and since you don’t know what your neighbors are using it's best to keep your pets off others' lawns and gardens.

Consult a professional pest service for pet friendly recommendations and keep the pet poison control number (888) 426-4435 (and your credit card for the $65 fee) handy in case of an emergency.

Watch for a post on safe "people food" coming soon.

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