Dashing into Fall Yard Work! A few Safety Tips.

Fall has arrived and for many in our community, so has fall yard work! Unlike many of us that live in condos in the city, many Brookland have wonderful yards with towering oaks and maples. While the community prepares for winter, there are several considerations you should take to keep your pets and wildlife safe and happy all fall and winter long!

Leaves are not all that bad!

Local wildlife loves leaves. If you can leave leaves under shrubbery or leave a larger pile of branches and leaves in a corner of the yard, you may find box turtles and other wildlife hibernating there over the winter. We will talk about this next week.

Watch out when using yard equipment.

Although many dogs love to play in leaf blower’s gusts, don’t use them when the dog is outside. The gusts they produce can easily hurtle debris into your dog’s eyes, causing trauma. Small sticks can even puncture a dog’s skin. Both of these will cause you to take pup to see us at District Vet. Take care with rakes and other equipment as well. Remember, there might be wildlife in the leaves, too (turtles, toads, etc).


Cocoa bark mulch is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Just don’t use it, please! Cocoa mulch contains many of the same substances as dark chocolate and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and even death. Mulch can also grow many mushrooms, many of which are toxic to dogs and humans. If you see mushrooms, please look up if they are toxic to dogs.

Fertilizers and chemicals

We are generally fans of organic gardens, but there are uses and times for fertilizers and chemicals. It is important to remember that just because something may be organic, it may not be healthy for the dog or cat. When applying organic fertilizers, please be sure the dog does not eat them! If using other fertilizers, check the package for safety instructions or talk to your gardener. More problems are seen with herbicides. It is very important to follow instructions and, if watering is needed, allow the area to dry before allowing the dog or cat (or kid) outside. If your pet eats fertilizer or has been in a fertilized area and is acting unusually, contact your veterinarian asap – we can help! Insecticides and snail baits can be fatal – if you have pets, we generally recommend you avoid their use entirely, if possible. They can cause vomiting, seizures, drooling, diarrhea and even death. Again, call us at District Vet asap if any is ingested.

Make your yard and garden beautiful! Keep your pet safe!


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