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Fall and the Clean up Begins

Fall has officially arrived and, as the leaves change into vibrant colours and begin to fall, it’s time to start a clean-up in your yard.

While the majority of us walk our dogs on a regular and consistent basis, some of us leave our pups unattended in our backyard. If you do and are new to pet ownership, this is a good time to go through your backyard and be sure that your space is safe and secure and will not be an area which can seriously harm your furry friends.

One of the most important things to check is that you don’t have any holes that have been dug by your pup, or other critters who roam at night, that could cause your pup to trip and injure a leg or paw. You should also be sure that trees and shrubs that have grown up over the course of the summer are not hiding any areas where the fencing has become insecure or the wood is rotting and your pup could escape. This is the time to start doing any necessary repairs and be sure that all will remain safe and secure during the winter months which will be here all too soon.

You also need to have a good look at any trees, shrubs and plants growing in your yard and be sure that none of them are harmful or toxic to pets if ingested. Some of the most common garden flowers and vines which can be very harmful and possibly toxic to your pet are begonia, bleeding heart, clematis, daffodil, geranium, hosta, iris, ivy, lily of the valley, morning glory, sweet pea and tulips. This is not a complete list and, if you are not sure if any other plants in your garden could be harmful to your pet, be sure to do some research and find out.

There are also certain fall blooming plants, such as autumn crocus, which are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause internal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and severe vomiting. Symptoms may not appear right away but, if your pet has ingested this plant, be sure to have him seen by your vet right away.

Some of us who have vegetable gardens may have some of the most common edible plants and herbs. Make sure chives, garlic, leeks, onions, rhubarb and tomatoes are out of your pets reach. Keep these plants in a fenced off area and watch your pet to make sure he doesn’t try to sample any of them.

If you have fruit trees in your yard, either apple, cherry, peach, plum or apricot, be sure that your pet does not eat any of the stems or leaves and especially the seeds of the fruit. All of these contain a chemical which, once it is ingested, is metabolized into cyanide. So be sure that you pick up and dispose of any fallen fruit and leaves before your four legged friend has a chance to try some. Also, if you have a black walnut tree, be sure that you immediately pick up and discard any of the nuts that fall to the ground. Once the nuts start to decay they very quickly produce mold and if ingested by your pup can cause digestive upset and possibly seizures.

And lastly check that you have not left any gardening tools lying around the yard, or pieces of wood or nails from summer projects that you were working on. Just like children, a pup could pick up a sharp tool or a nail and seriously hurt himself.

So enjoy the fall season and be sure your yard is safe for your furry friends in the days and months ahead.


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