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Springtime showers bring lots of flowers, fruits, weeds and chemicals!

Maybe not quite the rhyme we grew up with but pretty much the scenario around the country. Keeping a watchful eye on what pets can get into can truly be a lifesaver. Keeping a watchful eye on what pets can get into can truly be a lifesaver.

Be Proactive

Examine your house and yard from your pet’s perspective (floor level to 24” up). Dogs “smell in color” meaning they detect scents 10 times better than humans, yet…they only have 1/5 the number of receptor cells in their tongues, so they are apt to eat many things regardless of their taste.  When embarking on spring cleaning, chose white vinegar as a pet safe alternative to harsh chemicals.

Read labels on fertilizers and insecticides used to keep your yard in bloom, and keep all of these products out of paws reach. Select only “Pet & Wildlife Friendly” products, remembering that “organic” does not mean safe if consumed and whatever ends up on your pet’s paws or coat may be ingested when he grooms.

Check websites such as and to see if anything new in your garden has made the list that could harm your dog or cat.  Some of the most toxic plants are Amaryllis, Azalea/Rhododendron, Bulbs (Tulips, Daffodils, etc), Castor Bean, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, English Ivy, Juniper, Lilies, Kalanchoe, Marijuana, Oleander, Onion & Potato Plants, Sago Palm, Schefflera and Yew.

Take care in feeding fruits and vegetables to your pets.  Human, canine and feline bodies are not the same and what is good for you may not be safe for Fido or Fluffy!  Grapes and raisins can result in kidney failure, peach pits, apple and cherry seeds contain a cyanide-like substance in their core, onions can cause hemolytic anemia while tomato leaves and stems (not the fruit) can be poisonous as well to your four-legged best friend.

Be Prepared

Have phone numbers accessible for the ASPCAs Poison Control Hotline (888) 426-4435 and your nearest Animal Emergency Center.  Also print out driving directions to remind you in a stressful time of how to get where you need to go, and keep a well-stocked Pet First-Aid Kit handy, and know the weight of your pet (see below).     

Should the Worst Happen…Gather Information & React

Determine the type of poison, how much was ingested and how long ago.  Check pet’s Vitals (temperature, heart rate, respiration, gum color) and observe symptoms (difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, bleeding) to report to your veterinarian.

To Induce Vomiting

Administer 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (1 tablespoon for every 10-15 lbs your pet weights) with an eye dropper or syringe onto the back of tongue until swallowed.  Immediately take vomit sample, poison container and pet to the Animal Hospital.

To Dilute

Caustic poisons, feed milk or yogurt; activated charcoal (or even burned toast) may be recommended to absorb poison – then get to the Vet! 

Let your pets enjoy the beauty of Spring by your side, but keep them safe and yourself trouble-free.


Denise Fleck is an award winning author and freelance writer who was recently named a “Woman of Influence” by Pet Age Magazine and a “Most Inspiring Story” by Voyage Atlanta Magazine!  After extensive training, practice, more training and more practice, she developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPCR, Senior Pet Care and Pet Disaster Preparedness curriculum and has personally taught more than 15,000 humans animal life-saving skills plus millions more via television appearances including:  CBS –TV’s “The Doctors,” Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss” and “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life.” Learn more at


Donate To FOMCA

Donate To FOMCA

Please take a moment to donate to  All funds donated will be used in our never ending work to improve the lives of Madison County animals. 

If you prefer to mail your donation please send to FOMCA PO Box 191, Marshall, NC 28753

If you have any questions about donating to FOMCA or becoming a regular donor to help support our programs, please contact:

Melinda Sheldon at

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French Broad Vet Clinics call 828-412-1181 (61)

Dr Suzanne with French Braod Mobile Vet clinic hours at the FOMCA Office

Call French Broad Vet at 828-412-1181 to make your pets appointment