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Watch Out for 'Walkies' Hazards!

12th July 2023

Walks are a wonderful way to bond with the dogs in your care and really get to know their characters and habits. Plus, it keeps them fit and healthy – and helps build your business reputation.

Summertime is the perfect season for anyone who works with dogs. People are away on holiday so bookings for dog boarding and walking peaks and the blue skies and warmer temperatures mean less soggy, wet walks.

Summer means beautiful blossom trees are lining the streets, roses and hydrangeas are decorating our gardens and wildflowers are making woods and parks burst with colour and scent.

But while lovely to look at, the toxicity in many common plants and flowers found in gardens and public places across the UK could make dogs ill. Some can even be fatal if eaten is large quantities.

Many dogs are careful about what they eat. But when it comes to young puppies, these tiny curious canines or dogs who have an ‘eat everything in sight’ character, you need to remain cautious of the natural, seemingly harmless hazards right outside your door or on your regular walking route.

Beware of these poisonous plants for dogs

Bulbs and berries may look beautiful, but if licked, chewed or swallowed, the pup may become seriously ill. Here are just a few of the most common poisonous plants and flowers to look out for:

Daffodils – all parts of a daffodil can be toxic for dogs, from the bulbs to even the water they’ve grown in

Tulips – the bulbs are the most poisonous part, irritating a dog’s mouth and causing gastrointestinal problems

Azalea – contains toxins capable of weakening a dog’s heart, which can lead to death

Iris – can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal symptoms when ingested

Foxglove – the seeds and leaves are highly toxic, leading to vomiting, diarrhoea and heart failure

Bluebell – all parts of the plant can be dangerous for dogs, especially if a large quantity is eaten

Ragwort – can cause irreversible liver damage and kidney failure and can be fatal

Delphinium/Larkspur – eating a young larkspur plant or seeds can cause serious neuromuscular effects in dogs and can be fatal

Hyacinth – mouth and oesophageal irritation can occur if eaten, as well as drooling, diarrhoea and breathing difficulties

Wisteria – symptoms from ingesting the seeds and pods can include vomiting, dehydration, severe diarrhoea, blood clots and strokes

Garden hazards

It’s not just plants that can be a danger to dogs. If you let dogs in your care run around in your garden, here are some other hazards to be aware of:

Compost and grass clippings – can contain dangerous moulds or bacteria so keep any compost in a secure bin.

Fungi and mushrooms – not all types of fungi are dangerous, but some can be life-threatening so it’s best to avoid them completely.

Pesticides, weed killers and fertilisers – often contain products which are toxic to pets.

Grass seeds – can get stuck in a dog’s skin, ears and paws, causing irritation, infection and even spread to other parts of the body, leading to potentially serious problems.

Spot the signs of plant poisoning

  • Drooling
  • Not eating
  • Low energy
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Drinking or weeing more
  • Rashes
  • Red skin
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pale gums
  • Twitching or seizures
  • Collapse

If a dog in your care eats a poisonous plant or is showing any signs of toxicity, you should notify the owner and call your vet immediately.


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