It Is Officially Spring!

poisonous plants dogs

Spring has sprung!!! Yesterday was the Spring Equinox. so every day from this point forward, until the Summer solstice, has more light than the day before. If you are not outside in your garden, on a hike, on a walk, on a bike ride, in a park, or generally outside, you likely will be soon. With Spring comes some things to watch out for as you and your dog play outside.


Dogs love to sniff around in bushes, debris piles, tree logs, and pretty much anywhere that smells interesting. As they jump and prance through your garden, and dig their noses into your new plants, they may also encounter bees. If they encounter bees, they may encounter bee stings. If your god gets stung, if it is only one sting, they should be ok (unless they have an allergy), if they get multiple stings, then this could be a problem. If you are concerned about your dog being stung, call Albuquerque Vetco immediately to ask if you need to bring them in or what you can do to help your dog at home.

If you have bees in your yard, you can call an exterminator to spray and eliminate them or a Honey Bee removal company if you think they may be honey bees. If you are out and see bees flying around, you may want to discourage your dog from sniffing around in piles or plants too much. Unfortunately there is no vaccine or pre-treatment for a bee sting.


New Mexico has snakes! We have snakes in the Sandia mountains. We have snakes in the Valley. We have snakes in the Mesa. We have snakes. If you live in a more rural area, you may have more snakes, but we also get snakes in the city. Thankfully not all of our snakes are poisonous, but we do have poisonous snakes, such at rattlesnakes. Rattlesnakes can be deadly to your dog, and to you as well. Often people come across them when they are out hiking. Dogs get super curious and don’t often realize that the snake is nothing to play with.

If you are out on a hike, try to keep your dog on the trail and discourage her from nosing around behind rocks, and in holes, where snakes like to hide. If you hear a rattlesnake, just back away slowly. Remember, that not all rattlesnakes have rattles, so you may not hear their tell tale sign.

One good thing, you can get a Rattlesnake vaccine! This vaccine reduces the toxic effects of the venom and helps your dog to not only survive, but not be in as much pain or as sick. You can get your rattlesnake vaccine in our Albuquerque veterinary clinic daily walk-in shot clinic.

Poisonous Plants

Poisonous plants are one of the biggest problems for pets getting poisoned. There are a lot of plants that we love to have in our garden that are toxic to our pets. This becomes a problem because our pets love to chew on our plants, even if we aren’t a fan of this behavior. Eating these toxic plants can cause everything from lethargy, to kidney failure, so it is not to be taken lightly. Some more common toxic plants in New Mexico gardens are:

  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Cyclamen
  • Foxglove
  • Jimson Weed
  • Oleander

If you think your pet ate a toxic plant, call your Albuquerque vet immediately! The faster they get treatment, the more likely they are to be ok.

Spring into Pet Health Hazards

dog spring garden
dog spring garden

It is Spring time in New Mexico. As our weather bounces back and forth from warm to cold, from sweaters to tank tops, we are all going outside more and doing our Spring clean up. I know I have been inspired by the sun, this weeks rain didn’t even deter me. But as we go through our spring cleaning routines, lets take some precautions to not send our pets, or ourselves, into a health crisis.


Ticks are nasty little buggers and we definitely have them here in New Mexico. They can cause horrible disease that affect people and pets: Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, anaplasmosis, tularemia, and babesiosis. Some of these disease can cause life long health issues or even death. Thankfully ticks are really easy to avoid, at least for your dogs and cats.

The best way is to use a monthly anti flea and tick treatment like Frontline. It is a once monthly treatment, that doesn’t hurt, and will keep all fleas and ticks off your pet. If your pet is already having flea issues, it will get rid of your issue. Because we are so warm here in Albuquerque, Vetco recommends doing a year round Frontline treatment. However, we know that a lot of people stop treatment in the winter. If you stopped, it is time to start back up!

If your pet is not using an anti flea and tick treatment, then we recommend keeping them out of deep leaves, tall grasses, and brushy areas. Ticks love to hide in ground foliage.


As we start to come into mosquito season, we also come into Heartworm season. Heartworm disease is transmitted via mosquito. It is a deadly disease that has no treatment. The only thing you can do it prevent it. Thankfully prevention is easy and affordable.

We recommend HeartGard Heartworm treatment. It is an easy monthly chewable that you give your pet and it will keep them safe from heartworm. Unfortunately there is no other way to protect your pet. Mosquitos are everywhere and your pet can be bitten even if they are covered in bug spray….which we do not recommend doing as it is not good for them.

Garden Goodies or Baddies

Many of us are already getting the itch to go dig in our garden. Even if we aren’t ready to plant, we can start getting our garden beds prepared with fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. All of these things are great for the soil but not always great for our plants. With any additive your use, ALWAYS check the label about pet safety. Most will give you warnings about how to keep your pet safe when using their product. There are products available that market themselves as pet friendly, but there are still potential concerns. In general:

  • If it is wet, don’t let your pet near it until it dries
  • Don’t let them eat fertilizer
  • Don’t let them chew on recently sprayed plants, even if it is dry.

If you suspect your pet has any kind of poisoning, call your Albuquerque vet immediately.

RoundUp Your Yard Not Your Pets

Herbicide Dog

Overall you can rest easy, RoundUp is considered non-toxic to mammals. This is good news for you and your pet as you get ready to tackle those early New Mexico weeds that are already popping up. But, non-toxic is not the same as totally safe. There are still things you need to watch for after you spray RoundUp in your yard, in terms of pet health safety.

If you follow the instructions on RoundUp, your pets should be safe.

Wait For It To Dry

RoundUp is safe one it is dry. DRY!! This means that RoundUp is not safe when it is freshly sprayed. It is not safe to your pets and it is not safe to your other plants. If your pets walk on wet RoundUp they will likely track it to your other plants and you will kill the plants you want along with the ones you don’t, so garden health is another reason to wait for it to dry.

What Are The Active Ingredients In RoundUp?

Glyphosate is the primary ingredient in Roundup and it is an acid that is also a fast acting herbicide. It blocks the shikimic acid pathways in plants, which are not found in mammals, and that is how it kills your weeds. Once the acid is dry, it is no longer a toxic threat to your pet. When it is wet, it can be toxic and depending on how much exposure your pet has, they can have some pretty sever symptoms:

  • Drooling
  • Stomach upset
  • Losing their appetite
  • Becoming lethargic

Diquat Dibormide is the other active ingredient, which is another contact based herbicide. This chemical works by damaging the plant cell membranes. Again, when dry, it is not a problem. When wet it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Cataracts in dogs and cats
  • Developmental defects in rats and rabbits

What You Should Do

Make sure your RoundUp is dry!

It could take a few minutes or a few hours for your RoundUp to be dry, depending on your environment. It is best to wait at least 1/2 a day, if not a full day, to be safe, before letting your pet in the treated area. There are other pet friendly or more natural herbicide treatments, but keep in mind, that even homemade herbicides like capsaicin, have potential exposure issues for pets.

If you are concerned your pet has any herbicidal exposure issues from RoundUp or any other herbicide, please call your Albuquerque veterinary clinic immediately. Do not induce vomiting, or issue any other medical treatment without the direct supervision of your veterinarian. Many treatments can make poison issues worse.