Ah…alas the weather is nice.  Everyone enjoys being outside (including your pets).  If you live in an urban/suburban environment, the typical rule is that you keep your pet confined to your yard.  Sure…this prevents your pet from enduring the constant dangers of passers-by and vehicles, but did you know there are many unseen/unknown dangers right in your own yard? Here are a few to consider…

First and foremost, make sure you have purchased or created your own Pet First Aid kit; when you are thinking about safety, this is an important aspect. Your first aid kit will contain many of the same items that a human first aid kit would contain such as sterile dressing and antibiotic cream. If you aren't familiar with Vetericyn, this should also be in your pet first aid kit. Vetericyn will kill 99.99% of infection and bacteria within 30 seconds of being applied.

Toxic Plants
Just because your yard is beautiful and it received a blue ribbon in last year’s “Green Thumb Contest” doesn’t mean that it’s pet friendly.  There are many, many plants that are known to be toxic which can cause a variety of ailments ranging from slight discomfort to (gulp!) death.

I wasn’t exactly excited to mention this last part, but it’s the truth.  Again, there is a very wide variety of plants that have been found to be toxic to pets (around 700 which is too many for us to post here).  If you’re interested in getting the specific details of these plants, take a look at ASPCA’s list of plants that are toxic to your pet.  If you think your pet has ingested any of these poisonous plants, you can call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.

Yard Chemicals
There is a variety of chemicals that can be used to treat your yard to keep it “green and clean”.  However…just because these chemicals are approved to be used on your yard does not mean that they are safe for pets (or children and adults for that matter).

From synthetic fertilizers to fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides…these can all put your pets in harms way.  These chemicals have direct, proven effects on animals’ skin, nervous systems, reproductive systems, immune systems, and brains as well as having the potential to cause cancer.

A word of advice – nature truly does provide all that is needed to have a car-stopping, jaw-droppingly beautiful lawn, yard, and garden.  Focus on using natural and organic fertilizers and pesticides…they are extremely abundant (the large-scale fertilizer producers don’t like to talk about them much, as you can imagine).

Parasites
The number and variety of parasites which exist within any given yard can be astounding.  The idea that you will be able to eliminate any and all parasites that pose a danger to your pet would likely be a bit unrealistic.  What you can control is the number of unnecessary parasites that are living in the yard as well as how your pet’s body can be protected from the various parasites that exist.

There are a number of products on the market that can be used for parasite control with regard to your pet’s body.  These include special collars, squeeze-on drops, shampoos, mousses, sprays, powders, de-wormers, and vaccines to name a few of the many.  Combing and grooming are also vital in this process as well as they help to remove dead hair & skin as well as help to identify a potential infestation.

Keeping your yard free of waste material (aka poop) is also a necessary strategy to removing the risk of parasites.  Often times an infected animal will carry a parasites eggs within it’s body then release the eggs into the environment through their waste.  This is often times the way that a parasite is able to spread and survive.

By eliminating the hidden dangers that exist within your yard, you’ll create a truly safe environment from which your pet can enjoy the best of the seasons for taking in sun and fresh air.  It's also a good idea to provide your pet with a good nutritional supplement to actively help protect them from the troubles that the above issues can present. Fortiflora is a popular supplement designed to improve microbial balance in the gastrointestinal tract. It has been recommended by veterinarians to help manage pet diarrhea.