Green snack time

It’s lovely when spring is finally here and everything is green and in bloom. Whether in the garden, on the balcony or in the living room, it doesn’t just look good to us; it also awakens the appetite of our pets. But be careful – it’s not always healthy to snack on fresh greens! The experts from Maxi Zoo tell you what to be aware of.

It is not only the dedicated vegetarians amongst our pets who like to snack on juicy greens; even dogs and cats will indulge in a fresh snack from the garden. Unfortunately nobody can trust that the animal knows which plants are good for him and which are poisonous. Free roaming cats are particularly at risk of ingesting fertiliser, herbicides or insecticides when eating grass or flowers. Mouse, rat and snail poisons are also poisonous to pets.

Even in your own ‘non-contaminated’ garden or on your balcony there are dangers lurking. For example, hyacinths, narcissi, lily-of-the-valley and tulips are poisonous and do not belong in a cat household. Suitable plants for a vegetarian snack include cat grass, spider plant, umbrella palm, indoor bamboo and kitchen herbs. It is best to get some advice on which plants are not suitable for cats and dogs before you buy anything. Alternatively you could search on line for poisonous plants.

Avoid flatulence and colic

Guinea pigs, rabbits and small rodents especially look forward to the fresh greens of spring. Dandelions, English plantains and greater plantains are not just tasty, but are a healthy source of food after straw for rabbits and guinea pigs. They can even pick them themselves – and should do so as well, as lettuce from the supermarket is heavily polluted. Avoid wild plants that grow near busy roads as they are contaminated by the high level of pollutants from the vehicles. Places where dogs often do their business should also be avoided. So that the intestinal flora of rodents can get used to fresh greens, introduce the new food bit by bit in small portions over a few days so as to avoid flatulence and colic. You shouldn’t give your pets too much of this mineral rich food otherwise an overdose can occur. For example, rabbits shouldn’t get more than 20g of greens per kilogram of their own weight. Too much green food can lead to dangerous digestion problems in chinchillas as they have sensitive stomachs. Cabbage, lettuce and clover are not allowed. Desert dwelling animals such as gerbils need hardly any greens.

Bright bouquets for birdies

Pet birds also like to nibble at the pot plants on their flight through the living room jungle in order to keep their energy levels up. Therefore you should make sure that poisonous plants or substances which could harm the birds are out of their reach. Also remember that even non-poisonous pot plants could have been treated with pesticides! To ensure the bright fliers get their healthy greens you should clip a fresh bundle of herbs, grasses, particular green plants and flowers to their cage. Nearly all birds like young dandelion leaves (well washed) and the popular chickweed can be easily cultivated in a pot.

Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.