Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring has sprung! Safety Tips for warmer weather

Spring is here! Finally…
Along with Spring comes lots of outdoor activities and some potential dangers, today we’re going to go over keeping our pets (and children!) safe this season!
First is ticks, all the snow hasn’t even melted in my neck of the woods (way up in the Berkshires in little known Peru, MA) but the ticks are already out, and abundantly so! Many all-natural products say they can keep your pet free of fleas and ticks but we have not yet found one that works as well as the commercial products. The good quality products are tested vigorously and are generally very safe to use so, make sure your pet is on a good flea and tick product (check out our other blog for more details). That may not be enough to keep those pesky pests off of you and your family. There are many natural products you can use on your self and outside to keep them off of the humans like Rose Geranium essential oils or Diatomaceous earth (DE) which is natural occurring sedimentary rock crushed into powder that works well for fleas, ticks, cockroaches and earwigs!
Check out this website: https://www.campwander.com/blogs/camp-wander/kid-pet-friendly-tick-repellent for an all-natural product that you can use daily on yourself and children. (You shouldn’t need to use this on your pet if they are already on a good flea and tick product but it is safe for them to come in contact with it.)
LAWN CARE
When it comes to lawn care and pesticides a good rule of thumb is to keep kids and pets away from ANY treatment for a good 24 hours. If you are using a lawn care company go by their recommendation and ask for a printout of products and ingredients they use!
*Dogs tend to eat fertilizers so always keep an eye for when he’s around those areas where fertilizer was laid. They have a sweet smell and taste and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
* Ingredients that are very dangerous to pets: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), atrazine, dicamba. Avoid these completely, if able!
* Mulches: cocoa mulch is gaining in popularity but if ingested can cause the same dangerous effects as eating dark chocolate. Mulch is also a great place for fungi to grow! Eating any fungus could make your pet very sick or even be fatal. Rake mulch regularly to avoid any growth.
*Keep ground clear of any fallen or rotting fruits! Your dog or cat may think it’s a great treat but even fresh fruit can make them ill.
GRILLING
Spring and Summer are the best time to grill and hang outside but the grill brings with it a lot of dangers for your pet. Try and keep children and pets at least 3 feet away to protect against burns. Always keep grease and fat traps concealed and empty them regularly! Even grilling tools can make a dangerous snack: used skewers, tin foil and plastic wrap can be very enticing if they have marinade or juices on them! If ingested they can cause blockages or even intestinal tears leading to very expensive and invasive surgery.
Food no-nos: fat scraps can cause pancreatitis, GI pain and diarrhea in cats and dogs. Onions and garlic contain thiosulphate which can cause hemolytic anemia. Another forgotten one is corn on the cob, while corn itself is okay the cob cannot be broken down and can cause GI issues along with blockages.
Alcohol is never okay for pets. Wine is made of grapes which we all know is a food no-no and hops in beer is also very dangerous. Those main ingredients aside, the physiology of cats and dogs is different from humans. They do not process and breakdown alcohol the same way we do. They can get ethanol toxicosis and/or neurological issues from even small amounts of alcohol.
As a vigilant dog owner you may know all of these things but it is always a good idea to REMIND YOUR GUESTS! Many people who don’t have pets aren’t aware of the general do’s and don’ts.

WILDLIFE
Spring means lots of baby animals ALL OVER! Please keep children and pets away from wildlife. If they are in a high traffic area or appear injured get ahold of a wildlife rehabilitator. They will advise you whether the animal will need to be removed or just left alone. Please contact our hospital at 413-268-8387 or Cummington Wildlife at 413-695-6854 if you find any animal that looks like it might need help. If does not appear injured or in a dangerous situation PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE!
Mowing the lawn? Look out for rabbit nests: they look like a regular old spot of dead grass but can hold baby bunnies! If you do find a nest it is best to just leave it alone, even if momma isn’t there she will come back. A safe way to check is the tic-tac-toe trick: lay out some grass or twigs over the nest in a tick-tac-toe pattern, if in 24 they have not been disturbed momma bunny may be injured and you should contact a rehabber.
Please feel free to contact us at the clinic for any questions or concerns!
Enjoy the warm weather!

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