Safety Reminders for Our Own Backyard

Ariana Schwab, CVT
Senior Veterinary Industry Representative
Pet Poison Helpline

The grass is getting greener and air is getting warmer.  This is the time of year that we all emerge from our hibernation and enjoy this glorious weather.  Now, more than ever, we are sticking close to home.  Spending a lot of time enjoying our own back yards and neighborhoods.  It is an important time of year to stay alert to our pets and their potential exposures right in our own yard!

Spring usually consists rain and snow melt.  This extra moisture can contribute to moldy leaves and even mushrooms growing in our yards.  While ingestion of these may only cause mild gastrointestinal upset, some mushrooms can be much more severe.  Certain species can cause liver or kidney failure or even seizures and other neurological signs.  Mushrooms can be hard to identify and since toxicity can vary so much, it is best to avoid them and remove from your yard, if possible.

Our yard is our haven and we often strive to make it beautiful.  If fertilizers or pesticide sprays are used, it is imperative to keep our pets away and follow the labeled recommendations for use around pets.  If you see a treatment sign in a neighbor’s yard, assume you and your pet should steer clear.  Fertilizers can contain ingredients like bone meal, iron herbicides or insecticides.  They often contain blood meal or fish meal which can make them appetizing to our four-legged friends.  Pesticides can carry ingredients that may cause mild signs like stomach upset or much more severe signs such as tremors and seizures.  Again, these products can vary so much, it is important read labels and follow the appropriate recommendations to keep our pets safe!  Storing these products on shelving or secure cabinets where our pets cannot reach them will help reduce accidental exposures too.

One of the final safety tips that is crucial is to make sure your yard is secure.  If your pet is allowed in a fenced area, do frequent and thorough checks that your fence or tie outs are secure and intact.  This will reduce potential injury and possible lost pets.  We all want to keep our pets at home with us and reduce risk of losing them.  Make sure ID tags are current and collars are secure.  Do you have your pet microchipped?  If so, make sure they have current contact information for you as well.

Alright, so your yard is pet-proofed, now what?  Enjoy it!  Take in the sun, read a book or whatever it is you like to do.  Your pets are loving having you home with them and are there to help you relax!