6 Spring Flowers That Are Toxic For Dogs

Springtime is here. It’s time to replant some flowers in the yard. When planting, remember some plants are toxic to dogs and other pets. You may want to opt for some other safer flowers when planting this spring.

Here’s 6 kinds of flowers that are toxic to dogs

  • Oleander – It can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation and abnormal heart beats if ingested.
  • Lilies – They are toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney damage.
  • Tulips – The bulbs contain toxins that cause depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and heart abnormalities.
  • Cocoa mulch – Reacts like chocolate to dogs causing vomiting, hyperactivity, and seizures.
  • Aloe – Can cause diarrhea and tremors.
  • Azalea – May cause vomiting.
  • Stay safe this spring and for more information about toxins in plants, visit the ASPCA.

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FIght the Fleas! Tips on prevention

It’s spring and this means that fleas are back. Although fleas can be a year round problem, the warmer months prove to be especially annoying.

How to find out if your pet has fleas

Black specks on your pet or in your dog’s bed may be “flea dirt” – the fecal matter from adult fleas. There are two easy ways to check for black specks:

  1. Run a flea comb over your pet, making sure the comb reaches the skin through the coat. If you find black specks are on the comb when you pull it off that is small and brittle and curly, then it is probably flea dirt. If fleas are on the comb, drown them in a bowl of soapy water before they can get away or jump back on your pet. A soup bowl of warm water and dish soap does the trick. You can get a flea comb from your local pet store, the metal ones work best.
  2. If your pet isn’t one for being brushed, then place a white paper towel under your pet and rub the fur, ruffle the fur, and pet him/her. If black spots fall onto the paper towel, it’s probably flea dirt.

So, now what?

When you discover fleas on your pet, your home is also home to fleas. There are most liklely eggs, larvae, and baby fleas in the areas where your pet hangs out the most. To combat the possible infestation, try the following tips:

  • Use flea preventative on your pet which can be purchased from your vet or the local pet store. Brands like Advantage or Frontline are safe to use as long as you follow the instructions. This will kill the adult fleas on your pet and may also help kill the newly hatched ones that bite your pet. It can take anywhere from 1 month to 4 months to completely eradicate fleas from the home.
  • Prevent further infestation of the home. Flea pupae are protected by their cocoons – all pupae will have to hatch out and be killed as adult fleas on the pet. It can take weeks for all pupae to hatch from an infested environment. If undisturbed, pupae can exist for many months in the environment, which is why regular flea treatment are important in helping to rid a home of an infestation.
  • Be sure to treat all dogs and cats.
  • Vacuum the areas your pet is around, especially carpeted areas in your home, furniture, and your car if your pet rides in there often. Empty the contens of your vaccum into the garbage outside of the house.
  • Wash everything, especially your pet’s bedding to get rid of eggs that might be laying in there. If your pet likes to sleep on your bed, wash the blankets, comforter, and sheets. Change them more often and make it your mission to make it impossible for fleas to “set up camp” in your house.
  • Mow your lawn and keep the yard clean to prevent areas where fleas may live.

It can be a pain to stay on top of this stuff but once you start seeing that your pet isn’t scracthing as much, your stuff doesn’t have little black specks of flea dirt, and you’re not wondering if there’s fleas in your socks… you’ll be glad you worked this hard.

Have more tips? Share them with us!

Image from Warrenphotographic

Create A Pet-Friendly Garden

Spring is here! It’s time to put away those winter gloves and pull out the lighter jackets. The days are longer and your garden is awaiting your green thumb. But what to plant? What is safe for your pets to be near? What is safe for the local critters who run through your yard like the squirrels, raccoons, and, maybe, just maybe, that cute little fox?

There are some garden supplies that are not safe for pets, so to help everyone who is looking to create a beautiful backyard and make it safe for your pets we have tips of what to plant and supplies that are safe for your pets.

Elements of a Pet-Friendly Garden

  1. Walkway: If you have some pathways, use smooth stones and create a gentle walkway that is comfortable for dogs and cats to walk on, flagstones set in pebbles work well.
  2. Mulch: Cedar chips are safe for pets and often large enough that they don’t end up tangled in long fur.
  3. Borders: If you have areas where you want to keep your pets away, driftwood can help persuade dogs and cats to stay away from the planted areas. Bamboo also creates natural fencing once it has grown and become dense.
  4. A space of their own: If your dog is digger, persuade and train them to do it in their own “sandbox” area where they won’t ruin or damage plants.

Pet-Safe Plants

  1. Red-Twig Dogwood
  2. Smoke Tree
  3. Lilacs
  4. Catnip
  5. Bamboo
  6. Pumpkins
  7. Acorn Squash
  8. Cast iron plant
  9. Jasmine
  10. Venus Fly Traps

For more information about pet-safe gardens, visit Dogs in the Garden and check out the list they compiled.

Image from Web Gardening Tips

Tips for Healthy Lawns and Healthy Pets!

Now that the weather is getting warmer and trees and flowers are starting to bloom it means that you and your pet will spend more time outside. You’ll have to start mowing the lawn weekly,and using fertilizers and weed killers to keep your lawn healthy.

But what about Fido?

Some commercial formulas are poisonous to pets. Dogs chew grass, roll, and will ingest whatever you’ve applied to the lawn.

What can you do?

There are some brands of fertilizer that are pet-safe and made from manure. If you compost, you can make your own pet-safe fertilizer. A mix of carbon rich ingredients such as dried leaves and nitrogen rich greens like grass clippings will achieve the best results when mixed with other organic materials and table scraps. The other benefit of using manure based fertilizers or compost is that it is also good for the environment. Organic fertilizers are just as good if not better than chemical based ones.

If you are unable to compost, look for products that carry a veterinarian seal of approval or are EPA certified and avoid buying fertilizers that have inert ingredients. Inert ingredients may be chemicals such as tetrachloride, chloroform, and chloroethane. These are carcinogens and as we all know, carcinogens are harmful to us and our pets and are an agent in the exacerbation of cancer.

When it comes to weed killers, you can probably make your own. It’ll safe you some money and you’ll need the following items:

  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Hot water
  • You can also add lemon.

Combine a 2 to 1 ratio of water to vinegar and pour into the spray bottle. Spray directly onto unwanted weeds on a hot sunny day. The sunshine will help with the process of killing the weeds.

What about pests and bugs?

You can deter pests from taking over your yard by mixing chopped garlic (about 5 ounces) in 2 tbsp of mineral oil and letting it soak for about 24 hours. Strain the garlic pieces. Then mix 1 tsp of fish emulsion (which you can probably find at your local home and garden store) to 1 pint of water.

Add the garlic oil to this and store it in a glass bottle or container. Then when you need to use it, add 1 part of the oil mixture to 20 parts water into a spray bottle and apply to the plants that are pest infested.

If you would rather buy a pest deterrent, look at the labels to make sure it is child and pet safe.

To keep the lawn as green as possible and cut down on dead spots or yellow spots from your dog’s urine, try watering those areas more often to dilute the area. Dog’s urine is high in nitrogen because their diets are protein-based. Nitrogen is good for grass when mixed with carbon but too much nitrogen can harm and kill the grass. You can also try giving your dog a little yogurt now and then to help cut the nitrogen levels. There are also natural dog treats and supplements that you can give your dog to reduce the concentration of nitrogen.

NaturVet makes tablets, biscuits, and liquids that you can add to your dog’s diet which will reduce the nitrogen levels in his urine.

Hopefully some of these tips will help keep your lawn looking good and your pets healthy!

Image from Grasshopperlawns.com