By Hannah Prime
It is no secret that dachshunds are an inquisitive breed. They are not ones to shy away from investigating their surroundings. The problem being that they generally use their nose or mouths to perform these important investigations. Your garden can harbour all sorts of dangers to your dachshund- these include poisonous plants, fertilizers, tree/fruit stones, insecticides, snail bait and rat bait.
In order to protect your dachshund from these threats, your best form of defence is awareness and prevention. Below are the different gardening dangers to your dachshund, and helpful tips to help your inspector sausage!
The following are plants that can be commonly found in an Australian backyard, along with the toxic effects they can have on your dachshund.
– Aloe Vera– Commonly used to treat burns, but be aware it is toxic to your dachshund. Symptoms can include vomiting, depression, discolouration of urine and muscle tremours.
– Amaryllis– The bulbs are the most toxic component to this plant. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper salivation, lethargy, muscle tremours, anorexia and severe pain when the abdomen is touched.
– Autumn Crocus – Highly toxic plant. Symptoms can include vomiting (blood may be present), diarrhoea, shock, inability to regulate body temperature and bone marrow suppression.
– Azalea/Rhododendron – This plant can severely disrupt cardiac function, which can result in a coma, or even death. Initial symptoms can include hyper salivation, vomiting, diarrhoea, depression of the central nervous system and lethargy.
– Brunfelsia/ Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow– Very poisonous, especially in puppies. If your dachshund ingests this plant (along with the fruit that follows the flowering stage), it can be fatal. Symptoms can include vomiting, fever, muscle tremours, seizures and paralysis.
– Chrysanthemum– A naturally occurring pesticide, toxic to your dachshund. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper salivation, wobbliness and lethargy.
– Cyclamen – A very toxic plant which can result in death if ingested, the roots especially. Symptoms can include persistent vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and cardiac dysfunction.
– Daffodils – The bulb especially. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, vomiting, wobbliness, loss of consciousness, coma and even death.
– English Ivy – A plant that is toxic through the leaves, along with the berries. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper salivation and pain in the abdomen, which can be detected by your dachshund hunching, or upon touch.
– Holly – Highly toxic berries, which can be fatal if only a small amount is digested by even large dogs. Imagine the effects they could have on your dachshund. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, painful abdomen, wobbliness, loss of consciousness, coma and death.
– Hydrangea -This dangerous flower effects the gastro intestinal functions in your dachshund. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration and lethargy.
– Lillies– The entire plant is toxic, not only to your dachshund but especially to cats. Symptoms can include vomiting, inappetence, depression and a lack of urination, as it attacks the kidneys.
– Madagascar Jasmine – The seed pods of this plant are especially dangerous.
– Nightshade – Toxicity comes from the berries and leaves. Symptoms can include vomiting, painful abdomen, wobbliness, muscle tremours, respiratory distress and cardiac failure.
– Oleander – Every part of this plant is toxic to your dachshund. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, wobbliness, inability to breathe properly, seizures, inability to regulate body temperature and cardiac dysfunction which can lead to death.
– Philodendron – This plant can incur mild to severe effects on your dachshund if ingested. Symptoms can include vomiting, inappetence, swelling of the face, foaming of the mouth and respiratory difficulties.
– Sago Palm– The Sago Palm is so dangerous, that all it takes is a couple of seeds to be swallowed for it to have damaging effects on your dachshund. Symptoms can include gastro intestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, liver failure (causing a yellow discolouration of the skin and mucous membranes) seizures and blood in the faeces.
– Tulip – Be especially careful of the bulb, as this part contains the most toxins. Symptoms can include gastro intestinal problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, hyper salivation, inappetence, convulsions and cardiac dysfunction.
– Wandering Jew – A very persistent weed that can be very difficult to remove. It causes an allergic reaction, most commonly on your dachshunds stomach, as these low riders are so close to the ground. It can be impossible for them not to come in to contact with it. It can also effect the elbows, chin and groin areas. The rash caused by Wandering Jew can later manifest in to very sore calluses, due to incessant scratching, which in turn can lead to bacterial infections.
– Wisteria – Symptoms can include vomiting (blood may be present), diarrhoea and depression.
– Yellow Oleander – Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea and decreased heart rate.
– Yew – This toxic plant has been known to result in death after ingestion. Symptoms can include vomiting, muscle tremours, seizures, inability to breathe, wobbliness and finally heart failure.
If your backyard contains any of the above poisonous plants, you should remove them with appropriate spray (ensuring your dachshund cannot access this also), or by hand. If this is not possible, you should make the area inaccessible to your dachshund. If your dachshund ingests, or comes in to contact with any of these dangerous plants, you should remove any remaining plant from their mouth, take a sample of the plant and take your dachshund to your local veterinarian immediately, even if no symptoms have become present.
After you have removed the toxic plants which are dangerous to your dachshund, its time to plant some pet friendly flowers, with the assistance of fertilizer. But just when you thought the hard part was over, you must now ensure that your fertilizer is pet friendly, and will in no way harm your dachshund. Fertilizers are known to contain nitrogen phosphorous and potassium elements. The natural compounds are not the danger. The danger lies with the additives, such as insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, copper and zinc. Ingestion of fertilizers can have mild to severe damaging effects, depending on the quantity your dachshund has eaten. A dachshund that has eaten some grass, which has come in to contact with a fertilizer will be in much less danger, than one that has discovered a whole bag of fertilizer and ingested large amounts.
That being said, you must always keep fertilizer (even pet friendly products) in an inaccessible area for your dachshund. Symptoms of fertilization poisoning can include:
– Diarrhoea (blood may be present)
– Abdominal pain
– Hyper salivation
– Muscle tremours
– Laboured breathing
If your dachshund has ingested a fertilizer, take them and the brand of fertilizer to your local veterinarian immediately. If you must use fertilizers, there are brands available which are pet friendly. Although you should never have your dachshund out and about when applying the fertilizer, for at least 72 hours after, and ensure they do not have access to where the fertilizer is stored.
Compost And Fruit Stone Plants
You should never allow your dachshund to have access to any compost heaps, or fruit stone plants, as these can cause gastro intestinal obstructions, which can lead to serious health problems. Not only obstructions, but some fruits are toxic to dogs, such as cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines. One thing most dachshunds have is an insatiable appetite. They do not realise that the delicious half eaten corn cob in the compost heap, or the peach stone from a tree, could result in a major surgery or even fatality.
Symptoms of a gastro intestinal obstruction can include
– Vomiting (blood may be present)
– Abdominal pain
– Weight loss
– Excessive grass eating (this is a behaviour performed by dogs to induce vomiting)
– Aggression/seclusion due to pain
– Blood in stools
Gastro intestinal obstructions can be life threatening quickly, with some conditions deteriorating over time. If your dachshund has ingested anything other than food, you should take them to your local veterinarian immediately, as the sooner they are treated, the less damage (short and long term) the obstruction can cause.
The two most commonly found poisonous baits that can be found in the average garden are rat bait and snail bait. These poison do not discriminate, and will harm whatever species has ingested them. It is of upmost importance that if you simply must use these products, you CANNOT put them (pellets and the box) anywhere that is accessible to your dachshund. This does not mean on the top shelf in the garage, where your dachshund frequents (if you have a rodent problem, who is to say they wont knock the box off the shelf while they scurry passed), in the cupboard in the laundry (doors can be accidently left open) or anywhere with the slight possibility of having access to. If a dachshund wants something, they will perform tricks that belong in Cirque Du Soleil to get it.
The best way to prevent any poisoning to your dachshund is to avoid having the products on your property at all. Unfortunately in some poisoning cases presented to veterinary hospitals, it is not in fact the owners bait that their pet has ingested, but a cruel stranger, or neighbour who has provided the bait.
Because of this, even if you do not use poisonous baits, it is a great idea to be aware of poisoning symptoms. Remember, efficient timing can save your dachshunds life.
Rat bait generally comes in the form of pellets, which often resemble the appearance of many dry kibble products on the market for dog food, so it is no wonder your dachshund can be lured in to having a taste. There are many different rodenticides available, but you will find the majority contain an ingredient called ‘Warfarin’ or ‘Brodifacoum’. Rat bait acts as an anticoagulant, in other words, it binds the Vitamin K factor in the blood, causing the blood to be unable to clot. As soon as the bait has been ingested, the Vitamin K will begin to deplete, this can take from hours, to days to show serious effects, but the longer it has been in your dachshunds system, the more it becomes life threatening. Essentially, the poisoning causes uncontrollable bleeding, internally and externally. Think about how clumsy dachshunds can be- a common bump or scratch can become very serious if the blood is not able to clot. It is not only the direct ingestion of the pellets that is a danger to your dachshund. If your dachshund eats a rat, which has been poisoned by rat bait, your dachshund is at risk of delayed toxicity. So it is a great idea to ask neighbours if they are ever planning on putting out rat bait, to inform you. A safer and humane way to remove rats are live traps, which can be checked daily, and relocate them.
Signs and symptoms of rat bait ingestion can include:
– Vomiting (blood may be present)
– Blood in urine
– Blood in stools
– Pale gums/inner eyelid
– Bruising (can be hard to detect due to fur)
– Nose bleeds
– Cold limbs
– Constant bleeding from even the smallest of wounds
– Laboured/rapid breathing
– Muscle tremours
If you see your dachshund ingesting rat bait, or suspect they have, you must take them straight to your local veterinarian (along with the box of rat bait, so that the vet can identify the ingredient and treat accordingly). Once at your vets, depending on how long ago it was since ingestion, they may induce vomiting. Further treatments can include a gastric lavage (stomach pump), activated charcoal for absorption of the bait, so that it does not go in to the system, blood tests to check clotting factors, if your dachshund is anaemic, Vitamin K supplementation will be provided. In severe cases, IV fluids, blood/plasma transfusions and oxygen therapy may be required. Repeated blood tests will be necessary, and your vet will prescribe ongoing Vitamin K tablets until your dachshunds clotting factors have returned. This can take up to 3 weeks.
Snail bait, much like rat bait usually comes in pellet form, which depending on the type, contains the active ingredients ‘Metaldehyde’, ‘Methiocarb’ or ‘Iron EDTA’. Not only do they resemble dry kibble, but the manufacturers try to tempt the nails by flavouring them with tasty ingredients such as apple, molasses, soybeans, rice and oats. How can you expect your dachshund to turn their nose up at these, when they have been known to eat faeces and even socks!
Though highly palatable, snail bait is toxic to your dachshund. Due to the different types of ingredients of snail bait, the symptoms can differ from brand to brand. If your dachshund shows any of the following symptoms, you should take them, and the box/brand of snail bait to your local veterinarian immediately, as only a small amount of ingested poison can be life threatening, very quickly.
Symptoms of snail bait poisoning can include:
– Hyper salivation
– Muscle twitching/tremours
– Rapid breathing/heart rate
– Diarrhoea (blood may be present)
Remember, if your dachshund has ingested, or you suspect they have ingested snail bait, take them and the box straight to your local veterinarian, as prolonged treatment can result in liver, heart and brain damage. Depending on the length of time since ingestion, the vet may induce vomiting. Further treatments can include gastric lavage (stomach pump), enema, activated charcoal to absorb the poison, muscle relaxants, anti seizure medication (if muscle tremours are occurring), supportive IV fluids and blood tests, to reveal any organ damage.
Whether it be a poisonous plant, gastric obstruction or bait poisoning, always see a veterinarian immediately, to give your curious sausage the best chance of recovery.