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Pets & Poisons

Spray pesticide on your plants

A lot of us have heard lately about Jagger the Irish Setter, Crufts Dog Show and poisoning. Thankfully, in the end, it's been confirmed that the poisoning did not take place at the show, but regardless, it's all been pretty shocking news and has probably had many of us stop to think about the risks our own pets face, especially here in Dubai and the UAE where, over the many years gone by, we've heard the stories of pets being accidentally poisoned while roaming the streets, the gardens and even the desert areas at the outskirts of town with their noses to the ground and their tongues constantly lapping up whatever they can get hold of.

It's not possible, obviously, the guard against this kind of threat absolutely, but we hope the following thoughts will help.

Municipal Toxins

We're all busy and often preoccupied with one thing or another, so it's very difficult to be aware of each turn of event in our local neighbourhoods or across town and the country. If there is a sudden spate of accidental poisonings, how are we to know about this without having to keep daily vigil in front of our local TV news station or by reading the newspapers every single day (and not just that, but making sure we read through the entire paper to catch just that piece of news we're after!)?

Pretty tough. Probably impossible. And yet somehow we want to do just that - imagine how we'd feel to have our own pet eat up some poison somewhere, become extremely ill or even die, only to learn after the fact that the news had been warning us of this potential for the last while?

Thankfully there are modern ways and means, what with Facebook groups (there are PLENTY of pet-related Facebook groups in this country), push email notifications and, generally, the zippiness of electronic communications. So... subscribe, subscribe, subscribe! Don't drive yourself crazy, of course, but quite seriously, if making sure that you receive newsfeeds or tweets or email notifications, in the right measure, can help keep you informed and aware when you need to be, perhaps a little inconvenience caused by a little too much information coming into your newsfeed or inbox isn't too much pain to bear. Search for what you think are the best groups for you to be hooked into and try to get just that right amount of information streaming into your digital world so that you're not too bothered on the one hand, but not out of the loop on the other.

Ditto too, by the way, if you can be a source of that information - already being connected to the networks out there means you can step up and provide your own bits of news for others to absorb when that time might come; have you seen any signs of the laying or spraying of poisons? Well, shout out about it. Have you suddenly noticed an increase in the number of dead rats or mice in your area? This can be an indication of toxins being laid - it might seem obvious to say but sometimes we don't make the association.

And bear in mind that pest control often happens within a given community; it's not just carried out by the municipality. So consider becoming more active and involved in decisions about pest control before they are finalised. (Yes, yes, we know, trying this could be a nightmare in a place like the UAE... but perhaps it's worth that try.)

Although demanding of your time and possibly your energy, a good general rule of thumb is that you can't be too careful, so don't hesitate to check with the authorities (ouch, that can be painful!), Facebook and other social media groups, or even your neighbours if you suspect that there's rodenticide or pesticide afoot.

And of course, most obviously perhaps, if you think your pet has ingested a contaminated rodent and anything toxic in its own right, do treat the incident as critical and get to your vet as soon as possible.

Personal Pesticides

If you have a low-level issue at home with cockroaches, mice and other small vermin, why not give natural or organic pesticides a shot? (Are we politically correct and totally on top of things, or what?!) An organisation such as Planet Natural has plants that have effective insecticidal properties, and perhaps there is just such a provider locally too (though we have to admit we have not done that research to confirm - will you do it for us? ). Compared to chemical pesticides, plant or organic deterrents are generally non-toxic to pets and (naturally) better for the environment.

But sometimes it's just not possible to go that route, particularly if you have a larger scale problem to control. Keeping our own kennels and catteries as close to pest-free as possible is a case in point; over the years we've worked very hard with our pest control supplier to ensure that their products are safe and, yes, effective, so we don't have to remove from our facility, or worry about, your animals in our care at any time.

Most of us, at one time or another, do have to get pest control into our homes and/or gardens to get things right, so...:

  • Grill the company you're considering dealing with beforehand - you're not an expert on pesticides but you can become an expert at finding the right pesticide company. You really do need to know that the products they're going to use will not somehow, some way, harm your pet (or even the pets of your neighbours);
  • You might even consider getting them to provide you with that list in writing, much like a contract or guarantee of their awareness of pets in your home and that they will use appropriate products;
  • Make your own executive decision about whether or not to take your pets away from your premises for a period of time. Even if the pesticide company confirms the pet-friendliness of the products they're using, or perhaps are recommending only an hour or two of necessary avoidance of the area after spraying/laying the pesticide, you might still want to consider (depending on what you're having done) putting your pets into boarding or at a friend's home overnight just to be doubly sure. Safest for them and total peace of mind for you.

So, have we sufficiently fear-mongered you? Boo!

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