Tips to keep pets away from danger this spring

Hoover (Provided by Tony R )
Omama Altaleb, special to

WASHINGTON — With spring here and lawn work on man people’s agendas, local veterinarians advise pet owners to take measures to protect pets from potential threats this season.

Outside the home

“We start to do a lot of things in the spring that could potentially cause harm to our pets,” says Dr. Katy Nelson, veterinarian and host of “The Pet Show.”

Nelson, known as Dr. Pawz, says fertilizers and pesticides can be harmful to pets, and suggests the following:

  1. Reading the labels of products before using them.
  2. Considering more “green” products.

Dr. Elizabeth Arguelles, owner and veterinarian of Just Cats Clinic, in Reston, Va., says pet owners should wash hands after yard work and leave garden gloves outside the house.

In addition, Nelson urges pet owners to get heartworm, tick and flea prevention for their pets.

“The mosquitoes are coming; the fleas and ticks are already here. So making sure pets are protected is extremely important this time of year,” she says.

Inside the home

Outside of the home isn’t the only area where pets can encounter dangers. Many items laying around the home can cause problems for pets.

“We truly have to be diligent with everything our pets put in their mouths,” Nelson says.

Be aware of these food items, which can be dangerous to pets:

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Chocolate

“Don’t ever leave your purse sitting around where your dog or cat can put their face into it. Because if you’ve got a chocolate bar, sugar-free gum or even cigarettes in your purse, then they can definitely, potentially get into those things and eat them, which cause some severe harm,” Nelson says.

Nelson also warns pet owners about anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, because the high concentration of alcohol can cause severe problems for pets.

“Dogs especially have the mentality of a toddler, and if you wouldn’t leave your toddler alone with something, then you shouldn’t leave your pets alone with something either,” Nelson says. “Just because they are a nice dog, or well-behaved cat, doesn’t mean they are going to make the best decision as to what to consume.”

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