The warm summer months are perfect to spend more time outside with your four-legged friend, but it’s important to pet-proof your space against hidden dangers for your dog. Even some organic items can be hazardous to your dog’s health, so here’s a look at some common outdoor dangers for your dog, and dog-friendly alternatives.
#1 Snail And Slug Killers
Commonly used to rid gardens of these plant-munching nuisances, grub or snail killers containing metaldehyde are particularly poisonous. If dogs gobble up the granules they can develop tremors and seizures. The poisoning is commonly termed “shake and bake” because it causes the animal’s temperatures to shoot up rapidly. These are one of the biggest dangers to your dog.
While many gardeners swear by creating a barrier of crushed egg shells around vulnerable plants, there’s little evidence this works. Protect your plants with a band of sand or sawdust around the garden’s edge. Snails and slugs have a difficult time climbing over.
These pests also love yeast, so planting a “beer trap” — a shallow dish with a few splashes of fresh or stale beer — will lure them away from your plants. Just watch that your dog isn’t a beer lover as alcohol isn’t good for them.
#2 Gopher And Mole Bait
Often put into gardens to prevent rodents from nibbling veggies, baits containing chemical phosphides can end up posing major dangers for your dog. These poisons release toxic phosphine gas in the stomach, causing bloating, vomiting and can lead to seizures and tremors. Chemical baits, designed to sicken the target animal, are also not a very humane way to deal with a mole problem, which actually indicates your garden or lawn is healthy!
You can make your own homemade deterrent with castor oil and liquid organic dish detergent, and water it around the mole holes. Adding 20 drops of peppermint essential oil to a 1 gallon watering can has also been successful.
(Related: How To Detox Your Dog)
#3 Blood And Bone Meals
Bone, blood and fish meals, used as an organic fertilizer to boost the nitrogen content in garden soils, taste yummy to dogs because they’re made with actual ground up dried and flash-frozen animal bones.
In fact, it’s so appetizing that hungry dogs could gobble up several pounds, leading to a “cement-like” blockage in their GI tract that may have to be surgically extracted.
Go vegetarian for your fertilizer! Alfalfa, whether meal or pellets, is a great source of nitrogen and phosphorus for your garden, and is commonly sold as rabbit feed.
#4 Compost Piles
A steaming garden compost heap can resemble an all-you-can-eat buffet for your pet. Although it’s made of organic materials, these compost piles can produce hazardous mycotoxins if food or plant matter grows mold.
Eating those moldy items can cause vomiting, tremors and seizures in pets.
Deter, deter, deter. Make sure to keep your compost pile inaccessible to your four-legged loved ones, including fencing around the area. If you use a plastic compost bin, ensure it’s properly fastened to the ground and it can’t be tipped over.
#5 A Naturally Green Lawn Solution
Forget bugs and weeds: the biggest killer of any green lawn your dog relieving themselves on it.
Dog’s urine has a high nitrogen content so it causes burns, dead spots and yellow patches when it comes into contact with the grass.
One way to stop the scalding is to water the area immediately after your dog pees to dilute the concentrations of nitrogen, but that requires you following your dog around with a hose or bucket, which is effective, but not everyone has the time to do it.
So get out there and have a safe, fun summer with your dog!