Top 5 Spring Hazards

Spring has sprung, and with the change of season comes new activities, and new chances for your pet to get into some things that could potentially make them ill. To help protect your pet, we've listed the Top 5 Spring Time Hazards of which you should be aware.

#1 Easter

Chocolate: It probably comes as no surprise to you that chocolate is a big no-no. A potentially lethal dose of chocolate for a 16 pound animal is only 2oz. of baker’s chocolate. If your pet gets into chocolate, always check with us. 

Plastic Easter Grass: If ingested, this could can be very dangerous and cause intestinal blockage. If you are worried about keeping it away from your pet, try substituting tissue paper in Easter baskets.

Lilies: You may not know it, but lilies are extremely toxic to cats. They have a tendency to chew on them, and ingesting any part of the lily could potentially cause kidney failure.

#2 Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes

Warmer temperatures for these bugs means it is baby making season! Although they seem like just nuisance pests, they are disease carriers and capable of causing severe health problems.

A flea pupae can remain dormant for over a year, until ideal temperature for hatching is reached. Fleas are carriers of disease and also serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms.

Mosquitoes are the carriers for heartworms, and North Carolina has a lot of heartworm disease.

Ticks carry many different diseases and it is important to remove the tick from your pet as soon as you find it. Tick-borne diseases we see in Greensboro include Lyme disease, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In some cases, your pet may be allergic to a tick bite itself.

To avoid a parasite infestation, it is best to use a preventative product year round that targest pre-adult fleas, such as Sentinel (for dogs) or Program (for cats). In addition, you should be using a product that targets adult fleas ans ticks, such as Bravecto, Simparica or Seresto.

#3 Gardening

Fertilizers: The fertilizers that are sprayed onto lawns are typically fairly safe, unless pets ingest it directly. If a fertilizer is ingested in large amounts, it may be toxic, causing gastrointestinal irritation or obstruction. If ingested in a small amount it may cause mild stomach upset and loose stool.


Organganophosphates: This compound is toxic to both dogs and cats; however, cats are especially sensitive. Commonly found in plant care products, this compound can be life threatening, even in small amounts.

Snail/Slug Bait: This pesticide contains metaldehyde, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingesting the pesticide can cause seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and a lack of coordination. Typically it is a sweet smelling substance, which inherently attracts pets. However, even so-called “pet safe” snail bait contains 1% iron phosphate, and if ingested in large amounts can cause gastrointestinal upset. It is safer than metaldehyde, but still not 100% safe.

#4 Bee Stings

Our pets are curious by nature, and they explore the world through their nose and paws -- making them prime targets for insect stings.

In most cases of insect stings, there will be mild swelling and tenderness. Be sure not to squeeze the stinger (causing more venom exposure) when you try to remove it; rather, gently scrape it out.

Some pets are allergic to bee stings and will need emergency medical care. If your dog or cat starts vomiting or becomes lethargic after a bee sting, it is a sign of anaphylactic shock, and a clear indicator that they need immediate care.

#5 Household Cleaners

Before the ritual of spring cleaning commences, there are a few substances of which you should be aware. There are certain cleaners that are very dangerous if ingested, or if they come into contact with your pet’s skin. They include:

  • Drain cleaner

  • Pool chemicals

  • Concentrated dishwashing chemicals

  • Lime-removal products

  • Oven cleaner

  • Concentrated toilet cleaners    

Clinical signs include red/raw skin, blistering, pawing at the mouth, severe drooling, not eating, and lethargy.  If you see any of these signs, you need to seek veterinary care immediately.

If you believe that your pet has come into contact or ingested anything that is toxic, it is important that you contact your veterinarian immediately. You may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 (for a fee).

A longer version of this blog post originally appeared on The Drake Center



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