Ah, spring! As the winter weather melts away, people and pets alike rejoice in the warmer, sunnier weather that means longer walks, more outdoor adventures, and no more worrying about the dangers of cold weather.
Unfortunately, spring comes with its own dangers and many animal clinics see a surge in calls and visits associated with unexpected springtime pet hazards. Brighter days mean more people – and their pets – are out and about and there’s an uptick in traffic accidents, dog bites, and allergic reactions. From newly growing plants to barbeque equipment, you’ll want to watch out for these health and safety hazards on a daily basis to keep your pet safe and happy.
Chocolate, Candy, and (Human) Treats
For many people, spring means Easter. And even those who don’t celebrate Easter end up eating a LOT of Easter candy (No judgment! We’re peeps who love Peeps personally – controversial but true)! But as all pet owners – especially dog owners – know, chocolate is very, very bad for their fur babies.
Chocolate contains theobromine which is a stimulant that’s poisonous to dogs. While dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain the most theobromine, even milk chocolate can pose a health risk – especially for puppies and smaller dogs.
Sugar-Free Candy and Xylitol
Just as dangerous is sugar-free candy, which contains xylitol – a sugar substitute. Xylitol is extremely popular in sugar-free treats because it’s an insulin stimulator, which means diabetics can eat it without experiencing too much of a sugar swing. However, xylitol is such a strong insulin stimulator that it can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar if your dog consumes it which can lead to dizziness, weakness, and vomiting.
For those of us with puppies or aggressive eaters (those trash-digging, diaper-eating, shoe-digesting doggos know who they are), all candy can pose a threat – even individually wrapped candies. Some dogs won’t eat candy wrapped in plastic, but many will just swallow it down, wrapper and all, and the plastic can get caught in the intestine, cause blockages, or get caught in the throat and become an asphyxiation hazard.
Even if you’re trying to be healthy and going sugar-free, remember that raisins are dangerous for dogs. Raisins and grapes cause kidney failure in dogs. There is no “safe” dosage, so be very mindful when you’re making chicken salad or topping your oatmeal.
If your cats or dogs are outdoor animals, you’ll need to watch out for poisonous plants. Toxic species of springtime blooming flowers include:
Daffodil bulbs are particularly toxic, but the flower heads can also cause diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting – in severe cases these symptoms can lead to dehydration, tremors and convulsions. You will see these symptoms 15 minutes to one day after the ingestions of the daffodil.
All parts of the bluebell are poisonous to your dog. If they eat a bluebell they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and possibly arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
Crocuses and tulips are less toxic to your pet, but if they’re eaten in large quantities, contact your vet and watch them carefully for symptoms.
Slug and Snail Pellets, Pesticides, Fertilizer, Etc.
If you garden or landscape and you use slug and snail pellets, pesticides, or other chemicals, such as Roundup be very careful where you spray and how you store them. Slug and snail pellets contain metaldehyde, which is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause severe poisoning with symptoms of muscle spasms, tremors, twitching, seizures, and death if left untreated.
Many chemical and non-plant/animal-based pesticides and fertilizers can also cause severe damage to your dog or cat if ingested. Always store containers in hard-to-reach places, preferably behind closed or locked doors. When you do spray, keep your pet away from the toxic area for several days to reduce their contact with the chemicals.
Best of all – when possible, use pet-friendly, non-toxic options to keep your pet safe. We know you care more about your pet than growing a perfect tomato, so just be careful and thoughtful. If your pet does ingest a chemical compound, contact your vet immediately.
If you have concerns for your pet’s safety this spring, contact Bowman Road Animal Clinic or call 501-223-3737. Always call if it’s an emergency as we cannot answer online forms in real-time. We’re happy to answer your questions or take emergency appointments if your pet has ingested something poisonous.