The Hidden Knife in Your Backyard, A Serious Danger to Your Dog
I can’t believe it is April!!! This winter was much colder and harsher than last winter. Here I was thinking that Virginia winters were not bad at all, and compared to Wyoming and Wisconsin they really aren’t.
Last year I have planted my garden by now, but considering we had our biggest snow about 2 weeks ago, I think I am going to opt out of in ground planting for a bit.
I love having a garden, I hated it as a kid because my parents made us do all the weeding but as an adult I have learned some tricks of the trade and if you do it right you don’t have to weed as much!
I also like planting some exotic things. It is difficult if not impossible to get much of anything to grow in Wyoming so it is kind of exciting to live in a warmer, wetter climate where I can have things like a fig tree and other fruit trees.
So as I was perusing the new lawn and garden stuff of the year the other day at my local farm store I noticed one of my arch enemies when it comes to dog health.
Metal Lawn Edging!!!
I can’t believe they even make the stuff anymore because it is so dangerous!
It is kind of like putting a huge knife outside sharp side up and hoping no one steps on it.
Sure metal lawn edging looks all innocent at first when you buy it, it may have rounded metal edges or you may even purchase some plastic or rubber to cover the sharp edge thinking that will keep anyone from harm.
But metal lawn edging wears like metal, over time it gets sharper and begins cutting through the cover or the rolled edge breaks and is even sharper.
Some varieties even rust, making a wound worse.
I have seen lawn edging nearly cut dog toes off; causing irreparable tendon damage.
Not only is it dangerous and the damage usually severe, it is also expensive and totally avoidable, they make plastic lawn edging too.
When it is Worst
I think we saw more incidences of lawn edging cutting feet during the winter when snow covered it. I think dogs can naturally avoid stepping on things when they can see it, not that they do when they are playing but on average I think they aren’t as likely to step on it when they can see it.
But when you cover a large metal knife wound around the yard with snow and send your dog outside he is more likely to step on it.
I have hated metal lawn edging ever since I saw the first paw cut, so I knew I would never have a dog that suffered a cut because I knew I would never put it in… but I use to pet sit.
One day, while pet sitting, I let my dog out to play with my friend’s dog in the snow. When I let them inside blood was literally spraying all over the carpet. Thank goodness I was a vet tech when it happened and it was just my day off! I used a tourniquet, wrapped his foot and rushed to my work.
I could actually see his tendon, but thankfully he had not cut it.
We were lucky, he just had to have a quick emergency surgery.
Why I worry
I worry about dogs that have doggy doors who could lose a severe amount of blood before their owners get home.
I also feel bad for the dogs who’s toes become immobile and drag because of the tendon damage.
Not only is it expensive, it is traumatic to everyone involved.
I Have Heard…
I have heard that dogs are not the only ones to suffer. I have a friend in the ER world and she tells me kids come in occasionally with lawn edging cuts as well.
Kids are better at avoiding it, but when they play games and aren’t paying attention they too can inadvertently step on it.
What Can You Do?
If you have it remove it! Even the best covers can eventually be cut through by the aging metal!
Don't let your dog play in a yard that you can't check! If it is snowy and you don't know the yard, take your dog out on a leash until you can inspect the yard.
There are plastic varieties of lawn edging that will just break or bend if stepped on and this is safer, it might not last as long but it is much safer.
Or, you can use things like big rocks or bricks to build a barrier between things.
If you need more help or advice I am sure your local lawn and garden store would love to help!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.