Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog
Pet Safety in Your Own Backyard
For pet owners who have a yard, it’s important to consider certain factors such as size and accessibility. If a four-legged friend is very lucky, they’ll also have someplace to enjoy a good nap and take in scenic views of wildlife. As an extension of your home, backyards are usually safe for pets provided they’re fully fenced, reinforced, and gated. But what about not-so-obvious dangers to pet safety?
We all like to think our backyards are clean and pest/parasite-free, but, unfortunately, we can’t control the great outdoors. We can, however, do our part to reduce the impact bugs have on our lives.
Fleas, ticks, and heart worm-carrying mosquitoes are threats to overall wellness. Certainly, the risk of exposure increases during summer months, but a year-round parasite preventive is necessary for full protection. New preventatives that keep fleas and ticks off our pets are now available as monthly chewable tablets or as treatments applied topically. Additionally, you can help prevent contagious diseases through routine vaccinations.
To further support pet safety in the backyard (and keep parasite-carrying rodents and raccoons away), be sure to:
- Eliminate areas that harbor parasites, such as standing pools of water, overgrown areas, shady, damp spots, thick underbrush, and wood piles.
- Secure trash bins and compost heaps to keep scavengers out.
Growing so Close
To fully address pet safety in the backyard, you’ll need to know what’s growing out there. There many kinds of flowers and plants that are toxic to pets. Amaryllis, daffodil, oleander, azalea, lilies, milkweed, begonias, and baby’s breath are just a few examples. Likewise, sago palms and aloe vera plants can also be dangerous.
Many pets like to chew on grass (really, anything that’s green), including plants that are generally considered weeds. While sampling whatever’s growing out back may seem harmless, many weeds, such as foxtail, devil’s weed, deadly nightshade, and more, can cause injury or illness.
Always inspect your pet’s muzzle, legs, and paw pads for any unwelcome “hitchhiking” yard debris. If you use fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or rodenticides, be sure your pet is never exposed.
Allergies and Pet Safety
Pollen production from trees and flowers is at its peak during spring and early summer. However, there are numerous species that cause pet allergies through the fall, as well. Humidity also increases mold and fungi. Creating a backyard that reduces the effects of allergies can save your pet a lot of discomfort. Possible suspects of irritating skin allergies include:
Don’t Forget the Mulch
Many landscaping beds contain mulch, but some products can threaten pet safety. Red cedar mulch can cause irritation through skin contact, and products like cocoa mulch are toxic if ingested. Make sure that whatever product you use is considered pet-safe.
Whether it’s a pool, pond, or fountain in the backyard, pet safety must be considered. Certainly, drowning is always a risk, but algae and bacteria-laden ponds or fountains can also be dangerous. Products designed to manage these problems should always be secured, as they may contain harsh chemicals.
The Human Element
While it is not something that any of us like to contemplate, there are dangers to your pet other than the flora and fauna of your outdoor spaces, namely other people. From the negligence of accidentally leaving a gate open to the purposeful theft or poisoning of your pet, the people in your neighbor could potentially be a serious threat to your four-legged friend. To try to mitigate this risk, it is good to stay informed regarding any local mishaps or crimes involving the mistreatment of animals. Additionally, if you live in a busy area or one that has experienced these types of issues in the past, it might be advisable to make sure your pet is supervised while in the yard.