For your dog, be choosy about your house plants. Years ago, my husband came home with a gorgeous potted peace lily for my mother for Mother’s Day. Mom, an avid gardener in her youth, was housebound at the time, and he thought that it might brighten her day. And it did. But then my veterinarian sister mentioned that the plant was poisonous to dogs and cats, and Mom had one of each. Good-bye, pretty plant. Because your dog is easily bored and has a nose for scents, avoid house plants that are poisonous to dogs. No matter how pretty, it’s not worth it. The dog will find a way to access that plant unless you’ve hung it from the middle of a room away from anything he can climb up—dogs are amazingly agile and resourceful. Otherwise, you can figure, if it smells interesting enough (some soils and dying leaves are apparently irresistible), he’ll try, and jumping on or knocking over tables is not out of the question.
You can try deterrents like bitter apple spray or vinegar and water spray (if you don’t mind the smell of vinegar) may help a little, at least until they dry out. We’ve read about trying pinecones (don’t—they can be harmful if eaten!), red pepper (can be irritating to skin and eyes), and aluminum foil (choking hazard), but they’re dangerous, too, and really don’t work well. What you need to remember is that a tired dog is a happy dog. Exercise him several times a day (yes, you can). Go for long walks, play ball, engage his mind by teaching him a new trick. Just turning him out in the backyard is not enough. He’ll just wander around, bored, and probably get into any poisonous plants you might inadvertently have in the yard.
– Bloody vomit, urine, stool
– Dry heaves
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, get him to a veterinarian immediately. If that is not possible, poison veterinary experts are on call 24/7 to help you (yes, they may charge a fee because these experts need to be paid) at Pet Poison Hotline and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Do not give your dog something like hydrogen peroxide to make him vomit out the substances unless you are directed to do so by a veterinarian. Activated charcoal, if you have it on hand, will absorb toxins from the GI tract, but again, it’s best to check with your veterinarian or one of the poison-emergency numbers above first.
When choosing a house plant, consult this comprehensive list from the ASPCA. Fortunately, identifying indoor plants (if you’re like me you may not know the name of the pretty plant in the pink pot) is pretty easy these days. You can download an app like iNaturalist or LeafSnap and upload a photo to get an identification.
– Aloe Vera
– Asparagus Fern
– Autumn Crocus
– Bird of Paradise
– Castor Bean
– and many more…
Posted on May 7, 2021
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