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Clairmont Animal Hospital Blog

Pet Toxins and the Great Outdoors

Pug smiling in some grassWhen we think of pet toxins, we often refer to the usual suspects: chocolate, poisonous plants (such as oleander), and automobile additives, like antifreeze.  But, in regions like ours, where lush lawns, gardens, and agriculture are plentiful, there is an increased risk of exposure to harmful or carcinogenic herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals.

Because we enjoy such a temperate climate in Georgia, we are also more prone to spending quite a bit of time outdoors with our family and pets. Whether we are entertaining on the deck or going for a jog through the park with our pooch, there are numerous possible pet toxins to be aware of and avoid.

Lawn and Garden Pet Toxins

  • Some studies show a strong correlation between chemical weed killers (herbicides) and pesticides and the rise of certain diseases, such as lymphatic and bladder cancers.
  • Inquire with your local park or doggy play areas about which herbicides are used before exposing your dog to potential carcinogens.
  • Use caution when walking your dog to avoid flower beds and gardens where herbicides and fertilizers might have been used.
  • Many people choose to use eggshells, cacao bean, manure, and compost on their lawn and gardens. Keep your inquisitive pooch out of harm’s way by watching what he or she becomes interested in. Do not allow him or her to ingest anything from a compost bin (which will often contain harmful food products as well).
  • Insecticides can be potentially lethal to your pet. Avoid using “baits” or insecticides in any areas of your yard that can be accessed by your pet or other animals.
  • Gently wipe off your pet’s paws with a damp cloth after returning from a walk, since chemicals and other environmental toxins can remain on his or her feet.
  • Be vigilant with plants and shrubs in your yard, including houseplants, and aware of those that could present health hazards to your pets.  Many decorative or common plants can be lethal if ingested, such as lilies, castor beans, and sago palms. Click here for a complete list of known poisonous plants.

BBQ and Picnic Patrol

  • Avoid the temptation of feeding your pet human food from the grill or table. Many products contain potentially poisonous ingredients, sharp bones, and other substances that can cause your pet to become ill.
  • Bug sprays and citronella-based liquids are hazardous to your pet. Keep these products out of reach.
  • If fresh fruit or fruit trees are present, ensure your pet does not ingest any fruit that contains pits, such as peaches and apricots, or grapes, which should be considered highly toxic.
  • And, keep beverages that contain alcohol or the artificial sweetener, xylitol (which are both dangerous to cats and dogs) well out of reach.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous or toxic substance, address this immediately by phoning your Clairmont Animal Hospital team, or our Emergency “on-call” veterinary team, if after-hours.