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Oh Honey, She's Got Your Smile!

Posted by Petalyn Swartalbert

Aug 7, 2013

 

keeping baby safe from the start!

"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own,
having a dog makes you rich."
                                                                ~Louis Sabin quotes

 The everyday plant and food items that are toxic to pets will likely surprise you. Nevertheless, they are worth learning about before accidents occur. Most of us know that dark chocolate is toxic to most animals (except to us women -of course), but not as many know about avocado and grapes, and even fewer are versed on the perils of the secretive tomato plant.  

Tembo and the Red Tomato

I learned about the sly tomato the hard way when my beautiful black, 115 pound, lab &
Tembo and the tomato plantNewfoundland mix became suddenly ill one day. Tembo liked to eat! 
He would pluck the apples off our dwarf apple trees, and when we were not home he'd take the opportunity to raid the cat's litter box for 'kitty-snickers'. In other words, the probability that he had ingested something bad for him was high. So we were frantic to discover exactly what it wasthis time so I could ensure it never happened again...if our Tembo survived. 

My husband and I combed our well maintained home, and entire garden, to look for anything that might have induced the projectile vomiting and diarrhea. By this time in his life Tembo had graduated from stealing the odd kitty-snicker, to full-blown coprophagy (eating his own poo). Despite the disturbing nature of this jewel of a habit, all the veterinarians we spoke to assured us that this causes no real harm - other than the cruel urge to tell him he was actually adopted.

We finally concluded that it was the tomato plant I had had growing along the garden path Tembo walked several times a day to go potty. It was my first attempt at growing tomatoes, and I had been willing the only two I produced to fatten. I checked on them daily and in the absence of a green-tomato-thumb, I'd whisper sweet nothings toward them -away from the ear-shot of my very sane neighbors. However, on this day, we discovered that my under-developed red harvest was missing. 

 

The Particulars of the Tomato

If God hadn't created tomatoes we would'nt have the Caprese salad... and that would be truly criminal.poisonous parts of the tomato  Italians would starve and food in general would suffer from a shortage of red. 

Whilst many people swear that they often throw a bit of tomato into their dog's food without ill effects, after watching Tembo suffer, there's no way in the world that I will give tomatoes to any animal, ever again. 

That said, my research has lead me to understand that it is actually unripe tomatoes as well as the leaves and stems of the plant itself that poses the terrible danger to our pets. It's likely that when Tembo helped himself to the tomatoes, he also consumed a bit of the stem and leaves as well. 

So, if you are growing tomatoes or planning to, you would do well to position your plants somewhere none of your four-leggeds children get to them -ever! Remember, your cat is pretty resourceful by nature. A green-house doesn't seem like an over the top preventative option to me. It's a choice between $1500 (at minimum) every time you visit the vet with this serious and avoidable issue, or a small investment in a green-house for your orchids and tomatoes. Don't forget about cuttings either. Make sure to leave nothing to to risk. It isn't worth testing your pet's will-power or good behavior with potentially deadly results. It's our job to keep them safe in all circumstances and situation.

Save yourself from worrying. Access a great list of safe plant and unsafe plants to convert your garden into a safe place to play. Access Here: Creating a Pet Happy Garden

And now for something completely unrelated...

 

Cesar Millan would disagree

but...

When I was growing up I was always told to walk my dog on the outsidewalk your dog on the inside of the pavementso that if a car was to swerve toward us and onto the pavement, it would hit my dog first rather than me. I never argued with the adult who stressed this, but pointing out the danger to my dog resulted in my never walking any dog on the outside again. I wasn't old enough to understand the consequences of such an accident to me, but I couldn't stand the thought of doing that to my dog.

A couple of decades later a dog trainer (specializing in training dogs for the police force) coach me about that. Only he was very adamant about walking dogs on the inside; just as I preferred to do. His reason? 
"You have a partnership with your dog." he said, "His part is to respect you and obey you. This is for his safety." But here's the part that stuck with me. 
He continued, "Your part of the bargain is to never compromise his trust or safety. He sleeps at the foot of your bed and when you get home at the end of the day you feed him before yourself and you walk him. And when you do, always walk him on the inside. Never place him in danger unless you have a dog that is trained for it. This is how you demonstrate your love."

It's advice I have never forgotten. 

 

Resources:

Pet Poison Helpline
ASPCA 

 

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Steven and Petalyn Albert

S.E.A. & Peninsula Siding

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