My Dog Didn't Know Sit

Tips From a Dog Trainer and Her Dog


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Five Valuable Lessons Your Puppy Must Know Before Adulthood

There are several things your puppy should know before adulthood, including how to sit, stay, and come on command, how to have a routine for potty breaks throughout the day, how to practice proper doggy etiquette when at a dog park, how not to chew on things that aren’t its own toys, etc., but did you ever think about the even more “no-brainer” things you puppy must know? Although they’re no-brainers, it doesn’t mean they’re not some of the most valuable lessons your puppy should know before it’s an adult!! Here are the top five lessons your puppy should definitely know before it reaches adulthood!

5. How to be crated/kenneled: Whether you plan to have a crate in your home or not, being able to be caged is an extremely important lesson for every puppy to learn. When your dog is at the vet, at the groomers, or at a dog boarding facility, your dog will be kenneled at some point. It may be for only half an hour after getting bathed, or for days while you’re on vacation. Either way, you dog needs to be able to stay in that kennel without howling, barking, pawing at the walls and door, or throwing itself upon the ground and having a tantrum. No one likes an unhappy dog, so do your puppy a favor and be prepared!
13905581116_9c21b7c5ef_zWhile crated, your dog may be left alone, or kept nearby. If your dog is going nuts and having a panic attack because it’s been placed in a crate and sees it as a scary place, it’s still going to have to stay in there until you come and get it. It’s best for your puppy to learn that the crate is not a punishment device, nor is it confinement; it’s a safe and quiet place to be kept safe in. Even if you don’t groom your dog or keep it in boarding while you’re away, a normal dog will be crated at some point while at the vet’s office. Your dog may even have to be kenneled at least once a year, in fact!
Once an adult, your dog will need to have its teeth cleaned at least once a year by a veterinarian. This is pretty much a requirement because even if your dog chews teeth-cleaning toys and you brush your dog’s teeth, he still needs to have his teeth and gums checked for disease, infection, plaque, or any other common oral issues almost all dogs have.
Your dog will be put under and then have plaque scraped off its teeth and mouth and gums checked for any signs of complications that would otherwise be impossible to check while your wiggly dog’s awake and trying to lick the vet tech’s face rather than stay still with its mouth open. Because this procedure is a yearly thing, teaching your dog to be crated will make the teeth cleaning process much smoother when your dog wakes up in a strange place, half drugged, and in a big metal crate without you around to tell him to chill the heck out. Until the medication wears off and he’s completely awake, he’s going to have to stay in there, and if he spends those hours screaming and howling and peeing all over the place, then so be it. It’s torture for those in the office, your dog, and every client there, so save yourself the embarrassment when you have to pick him up and crate train your puppy early!!

puppy74. How to walk on leash: Similarly to being crated, at some point in your dog’s life, it will have to walk on-leash even if you let your dog out in the yard to exercise or go to the bathroom, and you never bring your dog anything but at the vet. It’s fine if you choose to have a puller when you walk him to the vet, but if your dog ever needs to get his shots or some other reason, he’ll need to be taken to the back room by the vet tech, and this will have to be done with the vet’s own leash. They use a simple “slip lead”, which is essentially a rope that easily loops around a dog’s neck and tightens when pulled so that its a snug fit. If your dog lacks the all leash manners that it should have learned when it was a puppy and not close to as heavy, strong, or stubborn as it is now, your dog can end up strangling itself if it pulls too hard. Your dog can also hurt the vet tech taking it to the back room. No one wants that, right?
A dog who can’t walk on-leash is also a very difficult client when brought to day care or boarding when the employee must walk your dog to potty or go home from its suite as well. When I worked as a Daycare Associate a few years back, I dreaded bringing some dogs to its owners; they’d pull so hard and literally run through the halls like maniacs, dragging me behind them thanks to the slippery linoleum floor lacking any friction one wished they had to slow the dog down. With one dog, a very large and powerful Great Dane, I was yanked through the halls with him as he burst through the doors into the waiting room, and I was almost slammed into a pillar nearby, but luckily dodged it by just a few inches. This was right in front of the owner, who informed me that she actually has been slammed into trees by her titan of a dog during walks, so she just doesn’t walk him anymore except to and from the car when going to daycare. Unsurprisingly, she was wearing a wrist band, a waist back to keep from pulling her back, and very high-traction shoes, specifically for walking her dog to the car. He never learned how to properly walk on leash and has almost sent multiple who associate with him to the hospital because of this…

3. How to ignore strangers: Like the previous two suggestions, this will keep you, your dog, and everyone around you safe! Yes, it’s nice to see your dog interacting nicely with neighbors, other dogs, children, and everyone in the world outside your home, but not everyone wants to be greeted by your dog, even if they loved to be just 6 months ago. As a puppy, he will learn that everyone wants to say hi to his adorable self, but as an adult, people aren’t as eager to pet and hug a big excited full grown dog as much as a tiny fluffy puppy. As your puppy becomes an adult, he may not realize that he’s grown several times in size and strength in just a few months!
cat-ignores-dogWhy can’t he suddenly can’t run up and say hi to the neighbor’s 3 year old and jump up and lick her face anymore? Rather than get a doggy dictionary to explain it to him, it’s best to start right away not to make your dog magnetized toward every other living being you pass by. It’ll save yourself the trouble and your dog the heartbreak.
I’m not saying that you should avoid people who are interested in meeting your puppy, but try hard to not show him off and approach others; have them approach you so that your dog learns that playing with others only happens when they come to you, and you don’t go to them. When someone comes to meet your puppy, be sure to teach him restraint and have him sit and wait before being petted, and prepare beforehand by standing on your dog’s leash so that he won’t be tempted to jump up on people. A puppy jumping up isn’t a big deal unless he’s a giant adult! Wait, is that even possible?! Anyway, all meetings should be calm and casual and not a big deal; that way your dog won’t become obsessed with saying hello to everyone he passes by because it’s a rare occasion that most likely won’t happen during every walk.

2. How to play alone: It’s nice to play with your dog, but when you’re busy writing a extremely lengthy essay on what to teach your puppy before adulthood, it’s even nicer when you don’t need to! Teaching your puppy that he doesn’t have to have a playmate to enjoy his toys is extremely important, especially when you’re away at work or are in the middle of doing something else in general.
Giving your puppy safe chew toys that he can occupy himself with when you’re not nylabone2available to play is the easiest way to teach your puppy independence and patience. When your puppy begs for attention to play while you’re busy, simply provide him with an alternative: A durable, safe, and fun one-player toy! Kong toys with frozen peanut butter smudged inside, Nylabones of the proper size and strength, Mighty Dog toys, and StarMarks chew toys are good suggestions of things you can bring out before you leave your puppy alone. Be sure that all toys you leave out for your puppy is safe and strong enough to play with without you needing to keep a sharp eye on him. Don’t leave soft stuffed toys, rope toys, or any other toys out you know you’ll have to supervise him with unless you’re in the same room and want to promote two-player play with them.
Patience is important to teach, so if he has something to play with but still demands your attention, you’re sadly going to have to ignore him, no matter how adorable he is. Be sure that when you ignore him, it’s 100%! Don’t even glance down at him because acknowledgement is often considered a reward, especially when your puppy begs. When he gives up trying to force you to join in his game and goes to play with his toy himself, THEN you can reward him with praise and sometimes even a treat that you stick inside the toy (is possible). Playing with toys alone should still be fun!

1. How to do… Nothing! Teaching your puppy how to do nothing is, in my opinion, the most important thing you can teach him. Many adult dogs don’t, and probably never will, know how to do nothing — mostly because owners don’t realize that this can be taught!
You’re walking your dog and reach a stop light, or need to fix your shoe, or need to step aside and let someone pass by on the sidewalk; what do you want your dog to do? You want him to stop, stay beside you, and do nothing. You don’t want him to lunge into the street, whine and tug at the leash, or leap up and say hi to the passerby.
You’ve brought your dog with you while you plan to have brunch outside a restaurant; the weather is great, your dog is leashed beside you, other people are enjoying their meals nearby. You want your dog to stay beside you, attached to the table, and enjoy being outside in the fresh air and do nothing; you don’t want him crying and barking, begging for food, zig-zagging through the chairs, jumping up onto tables, or getting under tables and licking peoples’ feet. You want him to stay still, without telling him to sit and stay and wait and wait and wait and wait and… You get my point.
As a puppy, he will learn that every few hours, he’s gonna need to go out for a walk, and then play, and then be fed, and then play, and then be trained, and then be cuddled with, and then everything else a busy puppy does all day. A puppy’s routine is full of attention and excitement and tasks. It’s very different from how it will become when it’s a mature (hah, yeah right!) adult who has time to smell the roses and, well, do nothing. But! This dog needs to learn that it’s possible to do nothing rather than smell the roses and lick the owner’s hand and bark at the neighbor dog and go nuts. You need to teach your puppy how to relax. You need to teach your puppy how to stop and stay still during walks. You need to teach your puppy that even though we’re outside and there are distractions on every corner, you don’t have to do anything; you can do nothing.
XG8IF00ZEvery day, for about 10 mins, sit down with your puppy in an empty area– no toys– and listen to music (or it can be silent if you don’t mind it). Don’t cuddle with him, don’t pet him, don’t give him treats, don’t do anything. Just sit down and relax. He can lie beside you and cuddle, but don’t touch him. Maybe read a book, or play with your phone, or whatever — Just ignore him, unless he starts going nuts, then you can give him a chew toy to occupy him. After the 10 mins go by, reward him and continue on with your busy day. You can teach him “Relax” before you two have your session of nothing if you like. As he gets older, you can do this for longer if you feel the need to.
When walking, teach your dog to relax for a few seconds. Stop walking, stand there, and chill out. As your puppy becomes more advanced in doing nothing, practice relaxing while waiting at the cross walk, or while at a park with your dog tied to your chair/bench at a shopping center. You can put a jacket of some sort on your puppy/dog to indicate that you’re in training mode so that people don’t interrupt. Be sure to keep your dog social and expose him to many different things so that the environment isn’t so alarming or so amazing that it’s impossible to chill out. That’s kind of a given though, right?
By teaching your dog how to relax and do nothing, you’ve given him an extremely important and useful lesson in restraint, patience, discipline, and will-power that doesn’t require force or motivation. It should be a natural and beneficial trait your dog will know, which is nothing! Hm. That didn’t come out right…

Well, I hope these Words of Wisdom were valuable to you, and that you can mold your puppy into a mature adult with these simple, but very important, tasks! As for those who have adult dogs, how many of these important things has he accomplished? Even as an adult, your dog can still learn these important lessons. Although they may seem like things that are unimportant in your lifestyle right now, eventually your dog will be challenged and things that seemed as petty as walking on-leash will be something you will be glad you taught him when he was young!


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Living the Apartment Life With Your Dog

I’ve recently moved from mom and dad’s single family house into a one bedroom apartment with my dog Ringo, and as expected, a new environment beings about new experiences. Some are great, like the friendly front desk staff and giant “back yard” that includes a parking lot and lots and lots of open grass, but some aren’t so great. What kind of challenges have we faced, and what have I done to make things easier on him (and of course myself)? Well:

That Random Barking “Out of Nowhere”: Every time someone walks in or out of their room or past my room, it can be heard by Ringo’s sharp doggy ears from the other side of my apartment, and of course, being such a big tough wimp he is, Ringo will warn those loud neighbors with an abrupt “BUH!” to scare them away. Sometimes, the sweet quiet little dog next door will answer back with its own “BUH!”, and then it becomes an argument between two dogs who can’t even see eachother and live hundreds of doors down from one another.

What’s the best solution to this? Grab your dog and move into a different room further from the door? Clap your hands to interrupt your dog’s cursing? Call your dog over and stuff his loud mouth with treats? You can do that. I did these things at first since it’s a good way to stop your dog from barking in general, but when it happens EVERY time someone goes by or another dog decides to yell threats at your dog who’s trying to nap in his own room, it’s not very productive. As a dog trainer, you learn that the best way to stop your dog from doing something you don’t like is to keep it from happening in the first place; how do you keep everyone’s loudness from happening so that Ringo doesn’t bark? Block the sound from coming through the door.

I bought an inexpensive “Door Draft Guard”, which was pretty much a piece of cloth that slips under the door with two foam tubes to block the inside and outside of the gap under the door. You can’t hear people walking by, doors shutting (at least not as loudly), or the charming neighbor dog’s attempts at sniffing under the door. Because you can’t hear it, it’s apparently not there, right Ringo? If you want something permanent and less “cheapo”, you can get something called a sound seal, which is a neoprene or vinyl strip that will cover the gap under the door and block out noise. There are cheap stick-on versions as well as seals that can be screwed in place, but those are obviously more expensive. Try that out before you resort to putting earmuffs on your dog…

Traveling A Million Miles To Get Outside: Leaving your apartment room, walking down a hallway, taking the elevator (or stairs for you “active” people), and making your way past a million people wanting to say Hi to your dog  in the front desk area is a long trek to Ringo’s Potty Spot compared to simply stepping out into the back yard and walking 3 feet from the door. One must take account of this and realize, “Hey, maybe Ringo lets loose in the elevator because the trip to outside takes forever…” Oh! So THAT’S why the elevator smells like pee! (Not really, I swear!)

urinate in elevatorSo for all you apartment newbies who have dogs who piddle on the way to the Potty Spot, be sure not to cut it too close. If Ringo begs at 6:00pm on the dot to pee, leave at 5:55pm (or maybe 5:59pm if you’re lazy) because the time it takes to wait for the elevator or make your way down those 50 flights of stairs could feel like a million years, and who wants to hold it for a million years when you don’t really have to? If you leave early every time and your dog still has issues, maybe the apartment is considered “inside” and outside of that is indeed “outside”. When I fostered dogs with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, the wall right across from my apartment was considered a tree to some of my fosters. Let’s say that in addition to poo bags, you may find that carrying a few paper towels would be a good idea too while your dog gets adjusted to the apartment life! What I did to avoid accidents while waiting for the elevator was to continuously pace back and forth so that my dogs didn’t have a chance to stop and water the invisible plants on the hallway carpet. Sure, it might be tiring, but so is cleaning pee.

Meeting “Friendly” Neighborhood Barkers: Remember that charming dog a few doors down? Well, you’ve just met him face-to-face while he’s trying to get of of the elevator that you’re planning to get into. Wonderful friendly neighbor dog is cursing at your sweet charming puppy who’s hissing threats to rip his face off. All you can think at the moment is, “Which way do I go? Which way do I go?” Where do you go? YOU GO AWAY!

It may be tough with a big dog, but the best way to get away when both dogs are going nuts and yanking at the leash is to pull your dog toward you so that he’s close, and  literally walk into him, and keep walking until you’re both far away from the opposing dog. You do this so that he’ll be too busy stumbling and tripping all over himself to realize that he ran away from the other dog in the most embarrassing-looking way ever. Dogs don’t want to be stepped on, obviously, so a successful way to make your dog move backward is to walk into him. Don’t kick or stomp on him; just walk. While you do this, you can say cheerfully, “Come on, let’s go!” so that once he’s done tripping and has forgotten about the other dog, he’ll then walk with you because, “Oh right! We’re on a walk!” If your dog tries to dodge you while you walk into him, no worries; just keep walking and pull him along.

This is a good  way to quickly get out of a bad situation when you don’t have time to call your dog or gently pull your dog back away from danger; talking loudly and yanking the dog can also be seen as you egging him on in some instances. A dog on leash acts differently than usual, so even a friendly dog can become defensive when another dog is snapping at them not even a foot away and the leash makes them feel like they won’t be able to run.

The safest way to prepare for potential dog incidents is to make sure to stand far away from the elevator and position yourself infront of your dog before the doors open. When the doors open, check that no one’s there. You can make it a habit to tell your dog to sit and stay while waiting for the elevator too. When inside the elevator, make sure that, if there’s space, that you have your dog standing in a corner where it won’t be seen the moment the doors open, so if someone tries to come in with their dog, they’ll see you with a leash at the door and the dogs won’t see each other right away. It’d be good to have your dog sit and stay inside the elevator too.

If walking down the hall and you see a dog up ahead, simply U-Turn and call your dog to follow you. Even if your dog is trying to look back and engage with the other dog, don’t scold him or stop; just keep walking and cheerfully tell him to Heel or Let’s Go. You can enter back into your room, or keep walking until the neighbor has entered their room, then U-Turn and continue on your way to the elevators as if nothing happened. This is a good way to deal with dogs outside too. Don’t let your dog get too close if you know the other dog will bark. If you see a dog and know he’s good, walk by (with distance), and always praise your dog for not reacting badly to it. Ringo doesn’t mind dogs, but he does mind some men, so I do the same procedure when he tries to bark at them outside or before walking into an elevator. Avoiding conflicts is better than dealing with them when you shouldn’t have to.

Meeting Awfully Wonderful Neighbors: Not everyone loves dogs – It’s horrible, I know! – but it’s the truth.

Letting your super awesome friendly dog who loves to jump up onto people to say Hi so that strangers pet and love them isn’t as acceptable in an apartment as it would be at a dog park or Petsmart. What a surprise! Even having a dog walk up and lean against someone who dislikes dogs makes them scowl at you with disgust and sneer, “You must be one lousy  owner!”

I actually had a lovely sweet little old lady say this to me when Ringo almost jumped up on her upon exiting the elevator – thankfully I was able to pull him away at the last moment before she blew a fireball in his face. It’s shocking to get jumped on when you’re standing RIGHT at the elevator door in a dog-friendly apartment building at the time everyone walks their dog, I guess. The fault isn’t hers though, even though I really feel that it should be. You can’t control anyone but yourself… and your dog. No matter where you are, if there’s a chance that a person could suddenly appear out of thin air near you and your dog will try to rudely greet them with excitement, it will happen. The best way to avoid conflict is to always keep your dog close to you, even when outside, until the last moment when he’s about to circle around and poop/pee on his Potty Spot. If you do otherwise, a nice little old lady will be assaulted by your horrid mongrel for no reason at all because you obviously “don’t know how to control your animal”. A 6ft leash is meant to be kept 1ft long when you live in an apartment because “that’s what they’re meant for!” Can you tell that I’m bitter? Yes. Yes you can.

The Elevator is Scary!: Ringo never had this issue, but some dogs can be scared of the elevator. A good way to train your dog to accept it is to never FORCE your dog to use it. Take the stairs, as horrible as it seems, but, before you do that, take the normal motions of getting ready to go into the elevator. Walk up to it, press the button, and if the door opening scares your dog, back up a bit and let it open, then go and take the stairs. If you expose your dog to the dreadful elevator, but don’t actually make him go into it, he’ll soon become less afraid of it. Eventually, let your dog enter the elevator, and then walk back out and take the stairs. Do this every day until you’re sure he’ll be okay with the scary doors closing behind him and feeling the elevator moving down to the bottom floor. Once he can be in the elevator and it can move, maybe take it easy and go down only one floor so that the trip is brief. Eventually go down two, then three, then four, then a million floors at a time (I hope to God your apartment isn’t a million floors high) The elevator will then be seen as a great shortcut to the Potty Spot without ever having to take the stairs. Yay!

Other Stuff: That’s the only issues I’ve come across (so far) while living in an apartment. What kinds of problems do YOUR dogs have, and what have you guys been doing to cope with them? Have any been successful, are still an issue, or were they solved thanks to this post? Feel free to share in the comments and let us know how wonderful (or horrible) your apartment life with your dog is!


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Should I Shave My Pet For the Summer?

Shaved To those who have long-haired cats or dogs and are considering shaving your pet’s coat for the summer to help him “cool down”, DON’T DO IT! Although dogs and cats only have sweat glands on their footpads (hence why they can leave footprints all over a shiny wood floor if stressed out or overly excited), they have their own super-effective way to cool down. Cats lick their fur and paws, and when the saliva evaporates, it cools them down; dogs keep themselves cool by vaporizing large amounts of water from their lungs and airways when they pant, expelling body heat in the process.

Although they have a warm thick double coat, long-haired cats and dogs are actually kept COOL from this. The coat acts as insulation against the sun’s UV rays and its effects. It regulates the animal’s body temperature, so when it’s hot, it keeps the cool in, and when it’s cold, it keeps the warm in. Shaving your pet’s fur off is like removing the walls of your home and then wondering why it’s scorching hot even though the AC’s on or freezing cold even though the heat’s on.

shaved_catThe best way to keep your pet cool is to keep your pet’s coat mat-free, well-brushed, and clean. Dogs have almost no pigment in their skin to ward off harmful UV rays and are very prone to sunburn and skin cancer, so the best way to protect your dog is to save the longer walks for evenings, and consider applying pet-specific sun block to thinly covered areas, such as the bridge of your dog’s nose, the tips of his ears, and his belly. You can also use a FURminator (or an off brand brush that does the same thing) to keep tangles to a minimum, remove loose fur, and lighten the coat a little bit. Keeping the coat healthy is the first and easiest step to keeping your pet cool in the Summer heat!

8d72e47ba7aac41439d8759a1515bf84If you feel that you HAVE to give your cat or dog a trim, try to leave at least two inches of fur to protect your pet from the elements. Be aware that once shaved, a double-coated pet’s coat will never grow back the same. It can end up patchy, discolored, thinner, and will shed even more than before! The rough top coat may never grow back as well, and your pet’s natural defenses from heat and cold will be gone for the rest of its life.

For dogs who want to play in the back yard, be sure to provide lots of shade, water, and breaks, even if your dog’s eager to keep playing; your dog probably doesn’t know what heat stroke is, but when it happens, you’re going to have a very big vet bill all because Fido wanted to play Frisbee for ten more minutes.

UnknownHopefully this helps, and your pets keep cool in this Summer blaze. Remember that the moment you start to feel thirsty and gross, your pet may be too! Be sure to offer lots of water (and pee breaks) and keep that coat healthy and non-shaven!


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Poisonous Plants and Flowers Your Pet Should Avoid

The weather’s (finally) getting nicer as Spring is approaching, so as expected, everyone’s taking advantage of this and buying new flowers to make their garden look nice. Dogs are able to romp around the yard more often, people are more willing to walk their dog for further, and everyone’s able to enjoy the outside without shivering and sniffling noses. Even the outside kitties can finally enjoy the lack of snow and slush on their paws as they scale the roofs and fences of the neighborhood. Best of all, there’s finally long green grass available for both pets to munch on like fat cows! Ahhh… the smell of fresh-cut grass, the shining sun, and the poisonous flowers; how enjoyable! Wait, “poisonous flowers”?! That’s right! Here’s a quick list of some of the common not very pet-friendly, flowers your neighbors may decorate their yard with and that your dog and cat should avoid!

DaylilyEaster-Lily Day Lily & Easter Lily – It’s hard to believe that these spring beauties are deadly to cats! Ingestion of any part of this plant, even the early green shoots, can cause kidney failure, so prevent your cat from having any access to these plants. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, kidney failure, and possible death. Although they’re harmful to cats, they’re non-toxic to dogs and horses.

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.12.34 PMcastorbean-leaf Castor Bean Plant – This tropical plant is often grown as an ornamental plant and as a crop in North America. In my opinion, this plant doesn’t look very friendly anyway, and as expected, ingestion of either the beans or the foliage is lethal to both cats and dogs. Signs of ingestion usually develop within 12 to 48 hours; the nasty list of symptoms include burning of mouth and throat, increase in thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, stomach pains, trembling, sweating, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, progressive central nervous system depression, fever, coma, and death.

english-ivy.ashxEnglishIvyplantEnglish Ivy – This is a very common decorative plant, and unfortunately, it’s toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Ingestion may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Be aware that cats are often drawn to displays of this plant as it often drapes and dangles from its planter. 

Screen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.29.01 PM P3205552Garden Hyacinth – These beautiful and colorful spring bulbs are toxic to cats and dogs. The actual bulbs themselves are highly toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to triggering dermatologic and allergic reactions as well.

 

 

buttercup.ashxScreen shot 2013-04-13 at 10.35.43 PM

Buttercup – These little yellow flowers may sound yummy, but are toxic to horses, cats, and dogs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, hyper-salivation, and wobbly gait.

 

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Begonia – This common houseplant is toxic to both cats and dogs, and although it’s not necessarily deadly, eating this plant will cause intense burning of the mouth, tongue, lips, and gums, difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling, and vomiting. The tubers of the plant are the most toxic. Interesting note: Although the rootstock, tubers, and roots are poisonous, the flowers of the begonia are edible, and are used in some cultures for their tart flavor.

Of course, this isn’t a complete list of all the flowers and plants that can make your pet sick. Unfortunately, there are many many plants out there that can be dangerous to your pet, so for a complete list of what you should keep out of your garden this Spring, and want to avoid during your walks in the park and through the neighborhood, feel free to check ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list just to be safe! And remember: If you think that your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, be it a plant or something from under the sink, contact your local veterinarian or ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435. Although your garden may be lacking in a few pretty flowers this Spring, at least you can be 100% sure that Fido, Kitty, and Mr. Ed are safe!