Summer is the time to get outside and soak up the famous Colorado Springs Vitamin D-filled sunshine rays that brighten our days and lift our spirits! And it’s been beautiful outside right lately! The recent monsoon weather has resulted in gorgeous green grass and flowering yards everywhere you look.
Our backyards are our outdoor sanctuaries – a place to enjoy gardening, playing with our pooches or perhaps having a backyard gathering with friends and family.
And while your dog no doubt loves being outdoors as much as you, it’s important you are aware of the hidden dangers in your own backyard.
Do you know there are natural items in your backyard can be hazardous or even poisonous to your pet?
Take a moment to review these 10 backyard dangers that can be problematic for your dog.
Most dog owners know they need to protect their dog from poisonous plants. But you may not know just how many popular plants are toxic to your dog. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers a comprehensive list of the plants that are dangerous for dogs.
Some common plants to watch out for are the American holly, periwinkle, azaleas, English ivy, begonias, elephant ears, buttercups, chrysanthemums, daffodils, dahlias, daisies, and daffodils. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous flower or plant call Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 or take him to your vet immediately.
Yummy Vegetable Garden
We know that some flowers are poisonous to our dogs, but did you know there are very common vegetable garden plants that can be just as harmful to your dog? Some commonly grown produce in backyard gardens you should keep your canine companion away from include:
- the green part of the tomato plant
- apple trees
- cherry trees
- grapefruit trees
- fig trees
- lemon trees
- peach trees
- orange trees
If you have an established garden already planted you could build a fence around it with a gate so your dog doesn’t accidentally eat something that may smell good but can cause serious harm.
Scary Organic Fertilizers
You probably already know many fertilizers are harmful to dogs and people. Many people think using an organic fertilizer is a better option, however, there are a couple of organic fertilizers that can make your dog very sick.
Blood meal and bone meal are both organic compounds used to increase the nitrogen content of the soil. Blood meal can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and severe pancreatitis. Bone meal can create a hard rock-like ball in the stomach that can obstruct the gastrointestinal tract resulting in a lot of pain and surgery in order to remove it.
Playing fetch with a stick might seem pretty harmless, and most times it is, but sticks can seriously harm a dog or a tender-mouthed puppy.
There are probably lots of sticks in your backyard, especially after all the storms we’ve been having, but playing with and chewing on sticks can possibly cause tongue splinters or in the mouth, causing pain and injury.
Sticks have also been known to pierce right through a dog’s tongue. If a dog swallows a stick, it can injure their throat or an internal organ.
A dog toy from the store is a safer alternative than a stick.
So Much Mulch
Mulch is usually used to keep weeds under control and looks nice in flower beds or gardens. Many dogs like to chew on mulch, which may seem harmless, except it can cause harm.
Cocoa Mulch is especially dangerous for dogs. In addition to the stick dangers listed above, it contains theobromine, an ingredient that is toxic to dogs. Better mulch options are pine, cedar, or hemlock, which are not poisonous.
If you decide to use mulch keep in mind that dogs can still choke on mulch and should be supervised around it at all times.
Uninvited Wild Animals
In Colorado Springs, you may encounter dangerous and unwanted animals in your backyard.
There are rabbits in the area infected with tularemia (also called “rabbit fever”), a bacterial infection that can be passed to domestic animals as well as people even if the rabbit or other infected animal is dead. This is another good reason to keep your dog on a leash when they are outside of your yard.
Other wild animals and insects to watch for include: rattlesnakes, brown recluse spiders, pikas, foxes, coyotes, porcupines, and skunks. Ticks and mosquitoes can also carry diseases and infect your dog if they bite.
Educating yourself on the wild animal dangers in your area will help to keep you and your dog safe.
Getting too hot or too cold can cause your dog serious health risks. Here in Colorado especially, the weather can change very rapidly from cool to very hot, or from warm to wet and cold.
Keep an eye on your dog while outside; pay attention to changes in the weather and bring your dog in out of excessive heat or a storm. Keep in mind the breed of your dog as it relates to weather conditions. Some dogs are more susceptible to overheating (check out this post on protecting your dog from summer heat). There is also the threat of lightening in our area. If lightening is spotted or you hear thunder, get your dog inside right away.
Before letting your dog run wild in your backyard it’s always a good idea to do a perimeter walk to make sure there are no holes in, or under, your fence where your dog can get out.
Even small gaps in boards can allow your dog to wriggle their way through the space and out to freedom.
It’s also good to double check any gates that lead into your backyard and make sure they are secure.
Backyard BBQ Season
BBQ season is one of the best times of the year. The smell of your neighbor BBQing can make you start drooling and instantly hungry, and I’m sure your dog loves the smells too.
But there are obvious dangers for a dog when you are grilling your supper in the backyard. The smell can be pretty tempting to your dog, and they may jump up to see what’s on the barbeque they can eat. By doing so they may lean their paws on the hot grill causing severe burns. Also, going under the BBQ may cause their fur to catch fire, or burn their skin.
It is smarter to BBQ far away from where your dog is allowed in the yard, or keep your dog inside while you BBQ outside, for their own safety.
If you’re lucky enough to have one, a pool is an amazing part of a backyard. However, there may be dangers lurking for your dog. Chlorine in your pool won’t poison them but can make them feel sick if they drink it. The biggest health risk is drowning. You might be surprised at how many dogs drown in pools during the summer. Don’t assume just because they can paddle for a bit that they will be fine every time they jump in. Their legs can get tired very fast. So keep an eye on your dog around any pools and especially if they are swimming in it.
If you think your dog has come in contact with something poisonous, contact your emergency veterinarian immediately, or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They may be able to help diagnose a problem or instruct you on what to do if your dog ingests something they shouldn’t.
Keep your canine baby safe this summer by keeping a close eye on them when they are in the backyard. Never let them run around for long periods of time without supervision when outside.
Were you aware of all 10 threats in your backyard? Which ones were a surprise?
“Poisonous Plants.” ASPCA, www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants?field_toxicity_value%5B%5D=01.