September 9, 2011

Fall Clean Up: Hazardous To Your Pet’s Health

Author: Kristin Skelton

The Leaves Are Falling On Our Dog Walks. Fall Clean Up Time Is Here, So Here are Some Tips To Keep Your Pets Safe!

As the leaves begin to turn and we prepare for another Chicago winter, fall is a time when routine maintenance is often performed around the house. Surfaces may be freshened up with new paint or driveway sealer, expandable foam insulation may be used to seal cracks, and gardens and lawns may receive fresh mulch or fertilizer.

While all of these activities are necessary to prepare for the change in season, all of these activities can also cause potential injury to our family pets. Here are some tips to keep your furry ones safe during your fall clean up.

1. Sticky Stuff. Substances like fresh tar or driveway sealer, caulking, and paint may get stuck to an animal’s fur or skin or even be absorbed through the skin into the body. Most animals will lick or chew the affected area to try and remove the substance. This presents a risk if the material is toxic or irritating.

2. And Puffy Stuff. There has been a rise in illnesses associated with puppies that have chewed on containers of expanding foam and swallowed the non-expanded product. After swallowing, the material expands in the pet’s stomach, causing a life-threatening obstruction requiring immediate surgery.

3. Lawn Care Products. Chemical fertilizers can be poisonous when taken internally. Some pesticides are not only toxic but also irritating to skin. Keep an eye out for flags signaling that fertilizers have been put on neighbors lawns. We do when we walk our clients dogs! Make sure to steer clear and wipe paws when you return home.

4. Chocolate Flavored Gardens. Cocoa bean mulch (made from cocoa bean husks) can be toxic if eaten, and, unfortunately, its wonderful chocolate aroma may prove to be too much of a temptation to many pets.

5. Gear Heads Beware. Fall is a popular time to change a car’s engine coolant. Ethylene glycol-based coolants are highly toxic, so clean up spills immediately. Consider switching to propylene glycol-based coolants. Though not completely non-toxic, they are much less toxic than other engine coolants.

6. New Friends In The House. Rodenticide use increases in the fall as rodents seek shelter from cooler temperatures by moving indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets. If ingested, the results could be fatal. Beware of the the type of rodenticides in use or seek more non-toxic and humane traps.

We hope that awareness of these potential hazards will help everyone have a safe and healthy fall clean up season!

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