It’s great at this time of year to be able to enjoy the summer weather and garden but be aware of some potential toxins and hazards for your pets. Garden sheds often contain a myriad of “nasties” where pets, especially dogs, are concerned.
Many pesticides are sweetened to make them more attractive to the pests; unfortunately this also makes them highly palatable to pets
Slug/snail bait containing metaldehyde (and related compounds) are highly toxic and often fatal to dogs. They cause muscle tremors in low doses, and continuous seizures when more has been eaten.
Rat/mouse poison usually contains coumarin products which prevent blood clotting. This is the way they kill the target
pest but they will also do the same if eaten by a dog or cat. Each year we treat several cases of this life-threatening poisoning in dogs have directly eaten the bait. Surprisingly we don’t seem to see it as an issue with cats catching poisoned mice.
General weed killer is not toxic if used at recommended dilutions and is not especially attractive to pets.
Dogs can be attracted to fertilisers such as bone/blood meal and, if eaten, these can cause local irritation and vomiting. Cocoa shell mulch can also be toxic to dogs if eaten causing problems with the heart. Most garden bulbs are also toxic to dogs, cats and rabbits. Many patio cleaners can be toxic to cats. Generally cats are less commonly poisoned than dogs because of their different behaviour. Free range cat behaviour does lead to another potential peril of the garden shed – being shut in! Please make sure you don’t have your cat, or anybody else’s, in your shed at the end of the day.
Rabbits can also face some extra stresses in the garden during the summer. A nicely sheltered spot in the winter can become a sun-trap in summer so ensure there is always plenty of shade available. They can suffer from heat stroke if they get too overheated.
Flies are a proper nuisance to bunnies. Flystrike is a common, distressing and potentially fatal condition for rabbits where
blowflies are attracted by faecal matter and lay their eggs around the bottom of a rabbit. The eggs quickly turn into maggots which aggressively bury into the bunnies flesh. This can happen incredibly quickly so we need to be check and examine our rabbits daily and cleaning soiled areas in hutches every day. Don’t allow your bunny to get over weight
as it then has problems cleaning around its tail area and that can predispose them to “fly strike”, there are preventative products available to apply to the skin to prevent eggs hatching into maggots. A single treatment can last 10 weeks.
Mosquitos, Midges and Fleas can carry a rabbit virus called myxomatosis for which there is a protective vaccine available. Good ventilation and mosquito nets on rabbit cages are a good idea as the weather gets warmer. If you see fleas on your rabbit make sure you use a product specifically licenced and safe for rabbits.