Keep Your House Plants Away From Your Dog: Many Indoor Plants, Fruits and Flowers are Poisonous to Canines

If you are lucky, you find the dog in distress, rush him to the vet, and he is treated and survives with no ill effects.

In the worst-case scenario, your dog will die, poisoned by your house plants.

To avoid tragedy, there is only one solution: get rid of toxic plants. You may think they are out of reach, but an enterprising dog can be very clever and persistent about reaching things he wants, even if they are on a high shelf or window sill.

Dangerous Indoor Plants

If you have marijuana in your home, you aren’t just breaking the law. you are endangering your pets, too. It causes stomach problems, increased heart rate, seizures and coma if eaten.

Other indoor plants, plus flowers often found in floral arrangements, that are incompatible with dog ownership include some cactuses, amaryllis, kalanchoe, begonias, most lilies, shamrocks, tulips, daffodils, chrysanthemums and ivy.

Don’t forget, some of these plants and flowers could be just as tempting to a curious baby or toddler, and in some cases, just as dangerous! “Better safe than sorry” is good advice. Removing any plants that could be a danger to pets or small children could avoid a tragedy.

Kitchen Dangers

Some people grow indoor tomatoes, or have a pot of chives on a window sill in the kitchen. Green tomatoes, tomato leaves and stems, and all parts of raw chives and onions are lethal for dogs.

Virtually all fruit pits and seeds are toxic, too, so don’t leave fruit sitting where dogs can reach them. When preparing a meal, you are likely to discard bits of vegetables, fruits, herbs, stems, pits, seeds, leaves and peelings. Make sure your indoor garbage or organic “green bin” is absolutely dogproof and preferably in a place that is inaccessible to your dog.

Other poisonous edibles include grapes (a handful eaten at one time can kill a dog), garlic, raisins, rhubarb, avocados and most nuts. And don’t forget chocolate! It’s not likely that you will be growing cocoa beans in your house, but chocolate is used in combination with many other foods, and it’s very dangerous for dogs — even lethal in some cases. Coffee is bad too, because it contains caffeine.

In an Emergency

If you dog has ingested poison of any kind, call your veterinarian immediately, then rush the dog to the vet along with a sample of what the dog ate. In an emergency, you can also call the Pet Poison Helpline toll-free at 1-800-213-6680. There is a $35 charge for this service.

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Olympics Dogs: Dog Sports: Olympics for the Canine Set

There was a time when dogs were expected to work for their food. They were employed on farms, they pulled sleds, guarded the home, or warmed their owners’ feet.

It’s Nice to be Adored, but Dog Behaviorists and Trainers Agree: Dogs Need Work

Purebred dogs were developed to serve a purpose and, despite the fact that many modern dogs wear designer collars, they’re still dogs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a five-pounder bouncing along in a handbag or a 150-pounder in an SUV… dogs crave focus. A reason for being. A reason to feel valued for something more than great hair and a waggy tail.

In addition, many dog behaviorists and trainers suggest that today’s “problem dog” behaviors are a result of human disconnect: people don’t understand their dog’s inherent need to excel at the work of their ancestors.

As more people understand that dogs want to do something meaningful with their lives, organized dog sports are developed to meet the needs of just about every canine athlete or athlete wannabe. From beginner to intermediate to advanced – every dog (and every human) can dream of waving the flag from the podium in the equivalent of each sport’s Olympics.

Purebred Type Narrows Sport Choices for Canine Athletes

Check the breed history behind every dog to discover the reason for its existence. That’s where that dog’s inherent focus will be found. With a mixed-breed dog, check the history behind at least two of the breeds in the mix to find its dominant working mode. Here are the six main categories:


  1. Sporting Dogs – point, flush, and retrieve game
  2. Hounds – hunt game by sight and smell
  3. Working dogs – guard and draft work
  4. Terriers – bred to hunt vermin
  5. Toys – lap dogs
  6. Herding – herd livestock

For a listing of breeds in each category, search American Kennel Club.

Body Type and Energy Level

When the dog’s category is identified, the next step is to identify factors in each sport that match body type, energy level, and preference. Since the handler will be very involved, it’s necessary to match the sport to the human, too.

Check the dog’s body type and energy level. Built for sprint or marathon? Gymnastics or body building? Deep thinker or firecracker? Land or water? Now check the human’s body type and energy level.

Some sports, such as agility and musical freestyle, can require almost as much energy from the owner as the dog. Others, such as flyball and mushing (sledding), require a high-energy dog but not quite so much energy output from the human. Thinking dogs who enjoy earthy pursuits might enjoy earthdog (digging) or tracking. Dogs who love water might want to try dock diving. Earthdog, tracking, and dock diving require lots of encouragement and praise from the human but it’s the dog who uses the most physical energy.

Creativity Needed to Match Inherent Skill with Modern Sports

A Beagle is in the hound category and hunting is his inherent preference, but creative thinking is in order. In North America, the act of hunting, in itself, isn’t recognized as an organized dog sport that leads to Olympic-type competition. Consider a competitive sport that requires hunting skills, i.e.: field work or tracking. Also consider any other sport that matches body type, energy level, and personal preference.

Popular Dog Sports

The following dog sports are currently in high demand by dogs, their owners, and spectators. In true Olympian spirit, many of these pursuits culminate in top-rung athletes who compete at national and world levels.

  • Agility
  • Disc Dog
  • Dock Jumping
  • Earthdog
  • Field, Retrieving
  • Flyball
  • Herding
  • Lure Coursing
  • Mushing, Sledding
  • Musical Freestyle
  • Tracking

Get the Vet’s Okay Prior to Signing Up for Any Dog Sport

A physical check-up by a veterinarian should be on the agenda prior to signing up for any organized dog activity or class. Physical soundness will be checked and vaccination certificates given, all or some of which may be required by the training instructor.

Is Sparky a Contender for Dog Olympics?

Who knows? That’s just one goal to be pursued and, as the saying goes, the journey is half the fun. If the handler is seriously interested in taking a dog to the highest levels of competition, he or she may want to consider getting a dog specifically for that purpose. Border Collies, for instance, are the royalty of the flyball circuit. Greyhounds thrill crowds at lure coursing trials. But that doesn’t mean that other dogs can’t join in the fun. Some simply enjoy going to the classes and aren’t particularly interested in competition. Others go for loftier pursuits, craving competition, and dreaming of waving the flag from the podium.

Have Fun or Go Home

Just as there’s no fun in forcing a disinterested child to play basketball, there’s no fun in forcing a dog to enjoy a sport that isn’t suitable. While his breed may have been developed for a specific purpose, not all dogs are perfect examples of their breed standards. Just like each human, each dog is different.

The breed check will narrow the possibilities while body type and energy level will provide more clues. But, in the end, if it’s not fun for the dog, it’s best to find another sport that will be enjoyed by both dog and human

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The Hidden Costs of Dog Ownership: Owning a Dog Comes with a Pricetag

Owning a dog is a wonderful experience. There are cuddles and unconditional love, but pet ownership in not something that should be jumped into lightly. Owning a dog can cost more money than one thinks. When considering whether to buy a dog or not, it is important to know all the facts and make an educated decision.

The cost of owning a dog goes well beyond the purchase price and food. Dogs require annual vaccinations, a dog license, a good dog collar, a leash, and a place to sleep. Add to this any additional cost of grooming, dental care, injury or illness and the costs can soar.

Pet Insurance

To help with the cost of healthcare, many new pet owners opt for pet insurance. Pet insurance can cost the customer anywhere from $25 to $40 a month and can help offset the costs of the yearly vaccinations and benefit the pet owner tremendously if the dog is injured or has a serious illness. However in many cases the insurance does not cover everything. According to the article, “Is Pet Insurance Worth the Price,” in July 2013 Consumer Reports, fine point terms in pet insurance contracts can end up costing the pet owners thousands of additional dollars.

On the pet education website, it is estimated that owning a 50 lb. dog over the course of its lifetime, approximately 14 years, will cost the pet owner anywhere from $5,000 at the low end to $38,000 on the high end. That is a huge monetary investment.

In addition to the monetary cost, there is the cost of your time and energy. All dogs require daily care. This means time spent feeding, exercising, playing and grooming your dog. The value of time is hard to put a price tag on, but pricing it is important. The benefits of owning a dog can either enhance your quality of free time or can detract from it significantly. The difference is in the individual.

Don’t Bargain Hunt

However when searching for a dog, the American Kennel Club (AKC), strongly advices against bargain hunting. If searching for a purebred dog, look into the breeder and make sure he/she is responsible and has a good track record. Hidden health problems such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, skin allergies or a host of other genetic diseases can be a painful consequence of purchasing a purebred dog on the cheap.

Buying a dog from a shelter can be a wise choice. Careful consideration and research into the type of dog and that dog’s behavioral characteristics should be evaluated prior to adopting the dog.

Dog ownership equals responsibility. Considering this and weighing all the benefits and costs is an important first step towards a happy life with your dog.

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