West Highland Terrier poisoned after eating stinging nettles | TeamDogs
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West Highland Terrier poisoned after eating stinging nettles

Experts are warning of the dangers of some garden plants

Danielle Elton

Posted 4 months ago ago

Our dogs are inquisitive little things - some might say nosey - and they’ll often have their noses buried somewhere they shouldn’t. They’ll also eat just about anything given half the chance.

That’s why, as responsible owners, we’ll try and keep anything that is harmful to them well out of paw’s reach.

And that includes plants. There are lots of plants found in our homes and gardens that are toxic to dogs - tulips, snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells...

But while we try our hardest, accidents do happen.

That was the case for poor Tilly. The West Highland Terrier was poisoned after eating stinging nettles, a plant that is extremely poisonous to dogs.

Lorraine Day, Tilly’s owner said: “Tilly consumed stinging nettles whilst in the garden as we were unaware that stinging nettles were growing into our garden from a neighbouring garden.”

After Tilly consumed the nettles, she had a severe reaction.

Lorraine added: “She began to choke as the nettle stings caused hives and bloating and began to restrict her airways.”

Fortunately, Lorraine was with Tilly when the incident happened and was able to act quickly.

“Luckily we were with Tilly at the time and were able to get her to the vet, who administered the right procedures to get her well again,” said Lorraine.

“We were, however, still hit with a hefty vet bill that could have been avoided if we would have been more aware of these dangerous plants. 

“Terriers are very inquisitive but pet owners should be aware of all plants and hazards, even from neighbouring gardens to pets where our dogs are involved.”

Experts warn about the dangers of some plants commonly found in the garden, as well as the importance of training when it comes to preventing these kinds of incidents from happening.

In-house expert for Postman Pooch, Jessica Kelly, comments on the things pet owners can put in place to prevent their dogs from taking an interest in things around the garden or park that could be harmful.

She said: “Make sure your garden is secure to eliminate any risk to your pet and eliminate as many risks as possible by removing all toxic plants. 

“Pet owners should supervise their dogs, training them to explore certain things in the garden. For example, when they approach a harmful plant say ah or use a clicker, and when they look away from the plant give them praise or a treat. 

“Make sure your dog has plenty of enrichment games and toys to keep them entertained and keep their mischievous time at bay. Dogs also can’t stand the smell or taste of citrus, and diluted lemon juice sprayed on plants works wonders.”

Co-Founder Kyle Lovett-Blackwell, from Postman Pooch, advises pet owners to get in touch with a vet straight away if they believe that their dog has consumed poisonous toxins.

He said: “As with toxic substances, the effect is related to the quantity eaten, some poisonous dog plants being more toxic than others, and even a small amount of ingestion of these may cause severe signs and symptoms. 

“Although serious cases of poisoning are rare, if you think your pet has eaten, touched, or inhaled anything they shouldn’t have, it is best to call a vet for advice. Never try to make your dog sick as trying to do so can cause other complications which may harm your pet.”

Training your dog on how to behave outside

Clinical Animal Behaviourist Rachel Rodgers had some advice for owners to help prevent this from happening when in your back garden or local park.

She said: “It is beneficial to train our dogs to sit and stay by our sides when in outdoor spaces such as our gardens or family and friends’ garden as this will prevent them from being inquisitive and eating something that they shouldn’t. 

“To teach a sit, place a treat close to their nose, then slowly guide it up and backward over their head. The dog can only follow the treat to a certain point before their bum has to touch the floor. 

“At this point, use your marker word “yes” and reward the dog with the treat. To build up to having the dog by your side, you need to work on duration, distance, and distraction. The key is to gradually get the dog to sit for longer and longer before you give the treat.

“Teaching your dog a good “leave” cue is key. If you haven’t done this then remember to swap, not steal. If your dog has something in their mouth that they shouldn’t, then call their name and show them a high-value reward treat that is something better than what they have.”

Kyle added: ““The best longevity treats to keep your dog entertained in our garden are Kongs filled with peanut butter, wet food or frozen. They will love the challenge. 

“Paddling pools and cooling mats will also keep our dogs cool in the summer and will prevent them from exploring our gardens. 

“Pet owners should also carry a collapsible water bowl for their pets as the weather gets warmer to prevent heat exhaustion.”

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