March is one of the prettiest months in Florida. There are usually no more freezing mornings but the weather is still cool with a little breeze. March is typically the month where we all go out to Home Depot to buy plants to add some color to our frozen, brown yards. We rip out all our dead plants to replace them with vibrant new ones. It’s all very exciting, but it can be hazardous to our pets’ health.
There are many plants that can be toxic to our pets. The degree to how our pets are affected depends on the size of the pet and how much is ingested. The most common clinical sign of plant toxicity is vomiting and lethargy, but in extreme cases difficulty breathing, hyperventilation, shock, and even death can occur. Some plants only have to be ingested one time to be toxic, while some others have a cumulative effect.
Plants are usually grouped by families and typically plants in those families all cause the same signs. Some common plants include:
- The Liliaceae Family (Ferns and fern-like plants) cause gastrointestinal symptoms: 1) Aloe plants 2) Asian Lily 3) Asparagus fern 4) Autumn Crocus 5) Day lily 6) Easter lily 7) Emerald Fern 8) Glory Lily 9) Hyacinth 10) Japanese show lily 11) Lily of the valley 12) Onion 13) Orange day lily 14) Plumosa fern 15) Stargazer lily 16) Tiger lily 17) Tulip 18) Western Lily.
- The Amaryllidaceae Family, which also can cause gastrointestinal problems: 1) Amaryllis 2) Barbados Lily 3) Daffodil The Ericaceae Family, which causes gastrointestinal problems as well as neurological symptoms: 1) Azalea 2) Rhododendron The Rosaceae Family, which causes respiratory problems: 1) Apple 2) Apricot.
- Other species of plants that may cause toxicity include diffenbachia, cherry, chinaberry tree, corn plant, philodendron, cycads, elephant ear, holly, hydrangea, Japanese yew, kalanchoe, mistletoe, morning glory, oleander, poinsettia, sago palm, wisteria, and yucca. As you can see, the list goes on and on.
If your pet likes to chew, particularly on the stems and leaves of plants, you should consider not having these plants in your yard. Dead and decomposing plants can be just as dangerous as live plants. When they begin to rot, plants produce an odor that is like perfume to dogs. These mounds of vegetation are teeming with bacteria. If a dog ingests these, the result may include a severe intestinal disease that could prove to be fatal. It’s always important to make sure your pet can’t pick up and chew things they’re not supposed to, but because of the intense risk of illness, be sure to pick up that yard debris and keep it out of your pet’s reach!
March is full of growth and renewal and while there is plenty to be wary of, March is also a month where the Western world celebrates all things Irish! Most recognizable is Saint Patrick’s Day, which traditionally is celebrated March 17th. There are many breeds of dogs that grace our homes that hail from the Emerald Isle. Here is a list of our furry Irish friends – Some you’ve heard of, while others are quite rare!
Irish “Kerry” Blue Terrier – This handsome, medium-sized breed is named after the region of Ireland it is said to be originated from, County Kerry. However, the distinctive dog with the dark black-blue coat actually originates from Co. Tipperary. This tenacious terrier is well known for its herding abilities throughout Ireland, and while it is a high-energy dog, it makes a great family companion.
Irish Glen-of-Imaal Terrier – This stout, rough-coated terrier is likely the least-known among the Irish terrier breeds. It has a personality and physical traits that have been compared to those of most of the other Irish breeds however the Glen is very much a unique and distinct breed that pre-dates many of the other dogs to which it is compared. History shows that the Glen was originally used for rodent control, as many terriers are. Due to the shape of its stout body and muscular legs, this dog also served the unique purpose of turning a spit-wheel. That’s right; the Glen acted as a dog-powered rotisserie! The modern Glen is a hardy breed of dog, often described as a large dog on short legs. They are not a breed for every household, but for the right home they are an affectionate, silly, low-maintenance, easy-to-love companion.
Irish Red Terrier – This beloved breed has a long and well-documented history in Ireland. The Irish Terrier has been documented as one of the oldest established breeds of dog to originate from the Emerald Isle and has been a well-loved companion to kings and authors alike. Originating from County Cork, this medium-sized terrier is well known for its wiry red coat, though to the unfamiliar it is often mistaken for a fox terrier. The Irish Red is a tenacious rodent hunter and killer and has a fiery, high-spirited personality. It is incredibly loyal to a loving family though, often marking it as a superb guard dog despite its size.
Irish Setter – In Gaelic, this handsome hunting breed is known as Madua rua, which literally translates to “red dog”. The Setter is highly recognizable for its long, silky, dark red coat and seemingly endless energy. The breed is called a “setter”, because it has been used for centuries to sniff out and ‘set’ or point to game birds in the field. They are a highly intelligent, though highly excitable breed, and should be selected as a house pet after a comfortable amount of research and preparation. They are a loyal, fun, family-friendly companion to the right home.
Wheaten Terrier – This friendly, playful terrier is well known in Ireland for being an all-purpose farm dog. It was originally used for herding and guarding livestock as well as rodent control, and though it is a high energy breed, it lacks the aggression of its terrier cousins. They are enthusiastic greeters, often known for jumping up on friends new and old to lick faces. This is commonly known as the “Wheaton Greetin’”! It is a sturdy, medium-sized dog with a soft hair coat that resembles human or poodle hair in that it does not ‘shed’ like many other breeds. With proper routine grooming, the Wheaten is an easily maintained pet that makes a fine family pet.
Irish Water Spaniel – The largest of the spaniel breeds, this dense-coated hunting breed is known for retrieving game in frigid water and has adapted through cross-breeding to be an excellent field and water dog. It resembles poodles and other water-breeds in form and coat, however the Irish Water Spaniel has a distinctive feature in that the hair on its face and tail is naturally smooth and short. The coat requires regular maintenance and this energetic dog enjoys a good long walk, but at the end of the day it is happy to curl up and spend time with its family.
Irish Wolfhound – The largest of all dog breeds, it has been suggested that this gentle giant has been in the companionship of man since 8000 b.c. They are a sight-hound, meaning quite literally that they hunt by sight versus by smell. The breed has been celebrated for centuries for its large stature, stamina, and hunting prowess, giving it the ability to take on large game such as elk and boar, but it was given the name Wolf Hound by Irish clan chieftains because it proved to be a formidable adversary against wolves. Today’s Wolfhound is a gentle, friendly companion that is adaptable to most environments. They are lo Their size makes them a challenging pet to keep unless there is plenty of space to move around and lay down. Their size and genetic predisposition to certain diseases also puts them at a disadvantage due to a shortened life expectancy.
If you see any of these fine breeds on March 17th, tip your hat and tilt a cool one in their favor (but don’t share any with them!). Everyone have a wonderful, safe March and keep your pets happy and healthy!