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Creating A Pet Friendly Yard

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Yard Plants Can Be Toxic

"A few usual plants you might never think to suspect are baby's breath (for dogs and cats), elephant ears (for dogs and cats), and grapefruit (toxic to dogs, cats and horses)," says Caitlin Williams in Pets and Backyard Poisons.

Jenna Trethewey, a care and playtime provider for pets, suggests keeping your pet's nibble zone clear of these common yard plants and trees that can cause health concerns:

  • Apricot trees
  • Asparagus Fern
  • Aloe
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Grapefruit
  • Lantana
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Oleander
  • Orange 

Check in with your veterinarian before you add landscaping plants or purchase a new home with plants that could potentially poison your pets.

Yards can be a shopping center or candy store for pets.  Pets often find materials that will harm them.  Sometimes objects are forgotten by good intentioned owners.  Other times, pets make their own mischief.  It is important to ensure that your yard is secure, well maintained, and free of debris, trash and toxic substances.

Creating a pet friendly yard is necessary for your pet's safety and well being.  Your budget will thank you for taking the extra effort to patrol your yard from your pet's perspective looking for enticing tidbits that could unknowingly play havoc with their delicate bodies.

Plants
"More than 700 plants have been identified as producing physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals," advises the Humane Society of the United States.  "Poisonous plants produce a variety of toxic substances and cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death.  Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant."

Plants, trees, and shrubs of all shapes and sizes have the potential to be toxic to pets.  Animal bodies can be sensitive and each pet will react differently to ingested materials.  When planning your backyard planting projects consider safe alternatives to favorites that could harm Fido or Fluffy.

How to Grow a Beautiful, Yet Dog-Safe Garden by geriatric veterinarian Ellen Friedman suggests eliminating foxglove, monkshood or aconitum, lily of the valley, snowball bush (hydrangea buds), and tobacco plant.  Pet reactions to ingesting these substances can include irregular heartbeats, nausea, convulsions and seizures.

Bees and Wasps
Eliminate or screen around low ground covers, shrubs or plants that attract bees and wasps.  Pets interested in the pollen gathering activities can get stung.

Compost Bin
"Fence off your compost bin," advises Friedman.  "Decaying vegetable matter can send poochy to the vet with a raging upset stomach."

Gates and Fences
Make certain all boundary materials are in good repair:  eliminate protruding nails, chipped or peeling paint, and gaps that allow or encourage escape.

Grass
Cut your grass often.  Keep it watered to reduce dust and pests.  Remember to rake or use the yard vacuum to pick up cuttings.  If you must apply fertilizers and weed killers do so while pets are confined or visiting elsewhere.  Always follow the instructions to ensure that treated grass is safe for your pet.  Store fertilizers, weed killers, yard and gardening equipment out of reach and away from accessible play areas.  Maintain a strict weed removal program since weeds can cause a variety of nasty fanny problems for pets that must potty in them.

Pools, Tubs and Spas
Immediately fence or screen these areas.  Not all pets are able to swim and those that are may still become trapped under the covers intended as energy savers.

Yard Care Items
Tools, equipment, pesticides, fertilizers, weed treatments, repair and building supplies must be securely stored.  Remember that anything sharp - no matter its size -- needs to be secured.  Glass, plastic, wood, or metal can have edges that could easily slice tender pet skin and paws.  Always keep them out of reach of your pets.  Curious or bored animals can create their own entertainment.  Proper storage gives them less opportunity to get hurt.

Your family veterinarian can provide you with additional suggestions when you share photos of your yard during visits.  Walk out your door or through your gate and make your yard pet friendly.  Your pet will love you for it!

Sources:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Friedman, Ellen, DVM. How to grow a beautiful, yet dog-safe garden.

Humane Society of the United States. Plants potentially poisonous to pets.

Trethewey, Jenna. Do your dogs ever nibble on the plants outside?

Williams, Caitlin. Pets and backyard poisons.

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  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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