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Summer Safety Tips

Now that the weather is heating up, it's time to dig in the garden. Please do not use cocoa mulch around your plants as it is toxic to dogs who ingest it.

A few days ago, I was walking two of my dogs in my parents' suburban development and suddenly smelled the worst chemical odor. A lawn-care company was spraying a front yard that was a block away and across the street from us. If I could smell it that easily, I can only imagine how offensive -- and potentially dangerous it was -- to my dogs. You might not be able to control your neighbors' choice of fertilizer, but it's well worth looking into natural lawn-care options for your and your dog's health.

With all the rain we've gotten in the Midwest, I've been keeping an eye out for a natural dog toxin: mushrooms. Not all varieties pose a threat, but why risk it? I pick the 'shrooms while on poop patrol and now it's just a habit.

Lastly, please learn from my mistake and do not allow your dog to go swimming in a retention pond. This past week, my Dalmatian, Darby, got really hot during a sunny afternoon walk. Since she loves to swim and we were close to a retention pond, I decided to let her go in for a quick dip. She was only in there for two minutes when she came back to me lame, holding up a bloody front left paw. It was a deep, clean gash along the inside toe, so I suspect it was glass. My poor judgment call required an emergency trip to the vet, stitches and a $320 bill, not to mention poor Darby's pain and suffering.

In talking to other dog owners about my experience, I have heard other horror stories about dogs swimming in retention ponds. One woman told me her dog almost drowned because the suction of a drain was pulling her under. She hadn't been aware of the drain and was prepared to jump in to save her dog. Thankfully, her dog was large and in excellent physical condition, so she managed to make it back to shore. If your dog gets hot, fill up a little wading pool in the backyard or turn on the sprinkler. Your dog will enjoy it and you'll have peace of mind.

Julia Kamysz Lane

June 13, 2008 in Current Affairs, Health, Recreation, Travel | Permalink


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Down here in the southeast U.S, there are other dangers lurking in retention ponds. Don't forget the occasional alligator (yep, I've seen them) or the southeastern water mocassin snake-which is poisonous. My three Ibizan Hounds prefer to drink water as opposed to swimming in it, so I have less to worry about.

Take care and stay cool.

Posted by: lori saylor brewer | Jul 5, 2008 7:53:49 PM

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