The summer season brings gardeners, beach-combers, hikers, and picnickers outside to play. With that, however, comes summer toxins that are poisonous to your pets. As you prepare for summer to roll in, make sure you have your house, yard, pool, and garden pet-proofed to avoid any potential poisonings.
Gardening products such as bone or blood meal, fertilizers and insecticides can be very harmful to curious pets sniffing around the yard. Be sure to keep containers of such products stored away safely in pet-proof containers such as dedicated garbage cans or in a locked outbuilding. Also, keep pets inside or leashed up if you have just used these products in your yard as they can be just as harmful when first applied.
If you live near or plan to visit the coast, remember salt water is poisonous and results in hypernatremia (an elevated sodium level). As dogs don't realize how dangerous salt water can be, they often drink freely when playing and splashing around. Pet parents must make sure to prevent this. Instead, carry a bottle of fresh water and offer it several times during the beach walk.
If you have a pool in your backyard, always make sure to store pool chemicals in a locked, secure area. Never leave your pet outside with any pool chemical containers open, as they can be very toxic when ingested, particularly in the concentrated form. When diluted appropriately, most chlorine shock treatment products and algaecides are safe.
When picnicking, make sure to be very careful what you end up feeding your pets, as "people food" can sometimes be very toxic to animals. For example, sugar-free items can cause liver, and alcohol in small amounts, even the kind found in some candies and baked goods, can lead to comas and seizures in pets. You can, however, stick to pet-safe foods such as carrots, canned pumpkin, peas, green beans, plain popcorn, apple slices, yams and ice chips.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, take them to the nearest veterinary hospital, such as Rolling Hills Veterinary Clinic in Winlock. Their phone number, including for after-hours emergencies, is (360) 785-4956.
You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline any time of day at 1-800-213-6680. It will involve a $35 fee per incident but includes advice for almost every species of pet as well as follow-up for the duration of your pet's treatment.