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Spring has sprung

March 20th, 2019

According to astronomical definition, today is the first day of Spring 2019. How exciting is that! Finally! It’s felt like it’s been raining forever because of the last few weeks and don’t even get me started on the wind.
I’m really hoping the weather will be nicer over the weekend as I’m planning to do some gardening. 🌸
If you also like gardening and dogs you can spend a lot of time together outside, however, there are a few things to be aware of (apart from the fact that he or she may steal your tools, pots, or gloves!)
I have a raised plant bed behind the salon that I need to get ready with some good quality potting soil or compost. The raised plant bed was John’s idea as we don’t have a lot of space and I love my gardening. The best benefits are that I don’t have to bend when I’m gardening and mostly that the dogs can’t jump into it and pee on my plants. How good is that?! 😂 What’s also great is that when I’m outside playing with my little garden I can have my boarding dogs running around without worrying that they might try and help.
Does your dog love to help you in your garden too?
If you’re using fertilizers and mulch I think it’s better to keep your dog inside. To stay on the safe side rather keep your dog away from the garden or lawn until the fertilizer is absorbed by the soil. If it’s a spray on product wait until it dries or if it’s a pelleted product wait ‘til it’s absorbed into the grass after the rains or a good water. Don’t forget to always follow the instructions on the label.
Surprisingly, organic fertilizers can be more dangerous to our dogs than other fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are fertilizers derived from animal matter, animal excreta, human excreta and vegetable matter. Some of the organic fertilizers are by-products from the meatpacking or farming industry like bone meal, feather meal and fish meal. You can imagine these smells are so delicious to our dogs and are often highly palatable.
Picture an unsupervised greedy dog (I could see my Rosie doing it) easily digesting a large amount of bone meal.  You can imagine what it would do to her digestion! Vomiting, diarrhoea, foreign body obstruction as the bone meal would congeal into ball-like concretions or even severe pancreatitis. If you catch your dog munching on your organic bone-based fertilizer, seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet will do a thorough examination, induce vomiting to empty the stomach and maybe even do an X-ray and prescribe fluid therapy.
I usually use horse manure as a fertilizer.  When I drag the bags around my dogs always follow me with piqued interest. They would love to munch a little bit of horse poo💩😂.
It never bothered me too much when we were on walks and the dogs picked at a horse poo ball here or there until I learned that there’s a risk of toxicity due to chemicals in worming medications that are passed in the faeces. Horse worming treatments often contain a chemical called Ivermectin, which is effective against many different parasites across a range of species. It’s also used as a de-wormer in cattle and sheep. There are certain breeds with a gene mutation which predisposes them to toxicity from Ivermectin at low levels.  These are Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, Old English Sheep Dogs and Merle Pomeranians.
I feel safe to use horse manure for fertilizing my gardening patch for a few reasons. It’s too high for my dogs to reach it and thanks to the composting process the Ivermectin residue disappears.
If you catch your dog munching on manure, watch for these signs:
 * slobbering
* excessive drooling
* diarrhoea
If you see any of these seek veterinary help immediately.
If you’re using mulch in your garden be aware of what kind of mulch you are using. Pieces of mulch can be attractive to dogs and they like to pick it, toss it and chew on it. This may result in a foreign body getting stuck in your dog’s digestive system.
Mulch is usually shredded tree bark and comes in different forms that we need to be aware of.
  Pine Bark – a versatile mulch that decomposes slowly
Waste Wood – This brightly hued mulch makes for an attractive garden landscape
Cocoa Mulch – (made of shells or hulls of the cocoa beans) – has a lovely chocolatey smell which can result in dogs being tempted to eat it. There can still be a small amount of theobromine, the chemical that causes chocolate poisoning in dogs however a dog would have to ingest a really large amount of the cocoa mulch to cause chocolate poisoning.  I feel it’s better to be safe than sorry though.
Recycled tires – not sure I would have this in my garden…

Jitka xx


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