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Summer Pet Safety (SPS)

You know about SPF, well now you should be aware of SPS, Summer Pet Safety. Safety is important all year long, but during the summer there are some specific safety issues to take notice of such as chemically treated lawns, fertilizers, insect repellents, poisonous plants, and predatory animals. If you have pets that spend as much time outdoors as they do indoors then it's important to identify and avoid potential hazards like the ones we've mentioned, but keep in mind if you are not sure about a certain plant or herbicide, it's best to do some research before letting your pet loose! Chemically treated lawns and plants are the most toxic in the first hours of their application. It is best to keep your pets away from treated areas until the chemicals have had a chance to dry. Some chemical treatment companies will tell you it's safe after 1 hour, but we recommend erring on the side of caution and waiting a longer period of time. Studies have shown that exposure to certain pesticides and herbicides for a year or more can significantly increase your pet's chance of bladder cancer or lymphoma. If you are aiming for a green lawn, try less dangerous methods, such as using natural products like Dogonit or GWhiz. They help keep lawns green but keep pets safe too. Check out www.ecosmart.com and www.saferbrand.com for herb/plant-based ingredients that keep weeds and pests away without endangering your family. Fertilizers can be dangerous too. For example, organic fertilizers are comprised of blood meal, fishmeal and bone meal. Those items seem like a tasty snack for dogs and cats, but they can cause harmful side effects even in small amounts, such as vomiting, bloating, dehydration and gastrointestinal blockage. Look for vegetable-based fertilizers that use cornmeal and alfalfa as safe alternatives. Insects can be a big problem for pets and humans alike, but eliminating them may present even more dangers if you are not careful. Be sure to read all labels before applying any repellents to you, your family and pets. Some repellents are extremely toxic and can cause multiple problems. Seek out all natural herbal formulas or citronella-based candles. Research plants that provide natural insect barriers such as Catnip, Rosemary, Citronella grass, Vetiver grass and even garlic! Plants such as Rhododendron, tulips, fruit trees, the leaves from an apple tree can cause severe reactions in pets from increased heart rate to convulsions. It's best to swap dangerous plants for less threatening ones. For a complete list of safe vs. hazardous plants, visit www.aspca.org Predatory animals such as hawks and coyotes are a potential danger to cats and small dogs. If you live in an area in where these animals coexist, it is best to supervise all outdoor activity so you can ward off any predators with your presence. Natural repellents have limited success and nothing replaces a watchful eye. If you'd like to share a pet safety related story or tip, please send us a note at ferrets@marshallpet.com and we may publish it! Have a safe and happy summer!
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