Here’s The Most Poisonous & Deadly Plants For Dogs

As a general safety rule, you shouldn’t let your dogs eat plants at all, especially during regular walking sessions. Not all plants are poisonous to them; nor will all ingested poisonous plants kill them either. In most cases, poisonous plants will only prove fatal to dogs if they consume a large amount of it. Remember: if your dog becomes ill after consuming plant matter, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.  Regardless of how poisonous a particular plant may be to your pup, it’s important to be aware of the deadliest ones. These are some of the most deadliest plants for dogs.

Castor Beans

castor bean leaf

Even the tiniest amount of a castor oil plant–such as a single seed–can kill dogs.



All parts of azaleas and rhododendrons will cause nausea, depression, difficulty breathing, and even coma. Azaleas can kill dogs if they eat a large quantity of them.


apricot tree

Apricot kernels contain cyanide, which can be fatal to dogs.



Daffodils can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and death.

Grapes & Grape Vines

grapes hanging from a grape vine

Grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure in dogs, which will result in death.

Wild Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms

Eating wild cherry twigs and/or leaves can be lethal to dogs.



Eating yew berries and/or foliage can kill dogs even without them showing signs of prior illness. 



Here’s a friendly holiday warning: keep mistletoe away from dogs. Mistletoe berries can wreck havoc on a dog’s stomach; just a few berries can kill puppies. 

Don’t Stress About It Too Much

Dogs will usually avoid poisonous plants by instinct; therefore you should not stress yourself about this too much. When walking and playing outside with them, just do your best to prevent them from eating plants, and they’ll be fine.

COVID-19 Creates Spike in Pet Adoption

We’ve all continued to likely read the headlines as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, but even amongst all of the uncertainty and unknowing, there are some stories emerging that show the goodness of humankind.

Our focus here is to protect and help you incorporate your furry friends into your home life so w were especially touched when we saw headlines break that the pet adoption world was booming as Americans shelter in place at home.

The reports indicate an increase of up to 90 percent in pet fostering during COVID-19 in some cities in the U.S. Others who cannot adopt are donating food and blankets to help shelters as well.

Speaking to WIRED, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Folks who don’t have animals for one reason or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now.”

“In the midst of all these things that are so challenging and so hard, communities are really stepping up for these animals,” Block told Wired.

What to Do to Welcome a New Pet Home

If you’re one of the many who have helped to find a new home for an animal in the shelters across the U.S. – Thank You! Now that you have your cuddly furry friend home with you it’s important to help welcome them into their new space. Here are a few tips we’d like to share and how DogWatch can help!

Give Them Time

The important thing to remember about shelter animals is that they will need some time to come around and get used to their new living spaces. Some may have never had a home setting before and others may have come from not so great pasts. It’s key to get to know your pet before you adopt and then treat them accordingly as they adjust.

Make Them Comfortable

The best thing you can do during this transition phase is to help your pet to get comfortable. Set-up a permanent food and sleep area. Something soft and warm that they can get to know as “their space”. If you have a few toys for them it will also be a nice welcome gift and of course, some good quality time with the family can be comforting for all.

Create Boundaries & Freedom

Welcoming a new pet into your home comes with some challenges too. If you’ve never had a curious pet in the home you might discover that things are chewed or misplaced if you’re not careful. The best way to protect your pet and your belongings is to set up boundaries for them. Both areas where they may roam freely and those off-limits.

DogWatch of Western Mass. Can Help

We offer a way for you to effectively keep your pet off the couch, away from the trash and out of the dining room or kitchen! Our pet containment systems allow your pet to roam and play freely within the boundaries you set – indoors and outdoors. We also offer training to help with getting them to safely obey the new boundaries you’ve put in place.


Consider a Pet-Friendly Office to Recruit and Retain Employees

Many employers today are discovering that their workforces don’t look the same as they did 10 or 20 years ago. A new generation of workers – mostly millennials – now staff the nation’s retail employers as well as healthcare organizations. In veterinary practices, owners and managers are discovering that younger employees want very different things from their employers. An opportunity for advancement and higher pay are desirable, but so too are quality-of-life elements.

Pets play a larger role in people’s lives than they did with older generations. Sixty-seven percent of American households now own pets, and they are part of the family more than ever before. Gone are the outdoor doghouse and leaving the cat outside. Americans love their “fur babies” more than ever before, and they’re spending time and money to ensure their health and happiness. Some employers are beginning to recognize that animals are fundamental to workers’ happiness and employee engagement.

Pets in the Workplace

“Several companies including Petco, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon all allow their employees to bring their dogs into work, while other companies like Trupanion, Zogics, and Ceros offer employees pet benefits like insurance and bereavement days,” according to the web site Employee Benefits Advisor. “More companies are jumping on the pet insurance bandwagon as they realize employees will spend thousands of dollars on pet care, and often forgo making a payment on another bill in order to ensure their animal is taken care of.”

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, about 15 percent of American employers now offer a health insurance benefit for pets. Seven percent of workplaces have made their premises pet-friendly. As companies strive to recruit, hire and retain workers, making some pet-friendly accommodations can help attract workers and reduce turnover. A survey of workers by Mars Petcare found that 59 percent of respondents would choose to work for a dog-friendly employer over one that is not.

If you’re thinking of opening your workplace to animals, put some rules in place to ensure it doesn’t become a distraction.  These might include:

  • Making accommodations for anyone with pet allergies by designating certain areas animal-free.
  • Allowing only well trained, non-disruptive animals in the office.
  • Making clear “no animals on the furniture” rules.
  • Installing “indoor boundary” technology for any areas animals are not allowed in.

Consult with Professionals

For more information and solutions for controlling pet access to indoor and outdoor areas, contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts. We proudly serve the Pioneer Valley and the surrounding area. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep customers happy! Visit our web site or call 888-749-2657 for more information.

Pampered Pets Get More Than Just Treats and Belly Rubs

Confession time. How many of you splurge more on your pet than on yourself? If you had to choose between a pricey, organic treat that was good for your dog’s health over yourself would you? You’re not alone. People across the nation are investing heavily in their pets not only for their health but because they’re now more a part of the family unit than ever before.

One recent survey conducted by Bigeye found that there are growing opportunities for those who market products and services for pets today as consumers are now spending $74B on their pets annually.

Another study released by social image site Pinterest has found more people are caring for their pets just as humans than ever before. With searches on the rise for things like “outdoor cat playgrounds” and “dog toilets” it’s no wonder the lines are getting blurred.

Over in the UK, they said over 50 percent of pet parents ages 19-38 said they’d rather cut expenses for themselves than cut back for their pets.

If you love your dog, cat or other pet and want to treat them to some splurge items make sure they’re worth every cent and promote wellness and comfort for your furry friend.

Here are our top suggestions for pampering your pet in ways they’ll actually be grateful for.


Nothing beats a soft, comfortable and dedicated area that’s all their own. Choose a high-end dog bed, one with a Tempurpedic foam inside to really support joints and make laying around as comfortable as possible for your pet.  


You can never go wrong with toys. Since some of the lower end chew toys can end up destroyed quickly, lost or dirty then it’s worth it to get some high quality, pricier items to add to the collection. Today’s connected toys even give pet parents a way to interact with their fur babies while they’re away.


Snacks are the way to just about anyone’s heart. When your pet behaves well or snuggles up for a treat let that delicious item be as healthy as it can be. Choose organic or homemade items cooked with love and much better for your pet’s palette and wellbeing.

3 Myths About Dogs Debunked

Dogs have been an integral part of human culture for decades. As a result, many so-called facts about dogs have come to be considered “common knowledge” by dog lovers everywhere. Realistically, though, just because many people believe in something doesn’t make it true. For example, just a few years ago, astrologists declared that Pluto is no longer a planet. Can you believe it? We all believed this for so long, and now it’s considered something of a myth. Well, the same can be said about dog facts. Here’s 3 common myths about dogs debunked.

Myth #1: You Can’t Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

Just as younger kids today believe that old folks are so stuck in their ways that they can’t change, so too do many people think that their 8 year old dog can’t learn new commands. While it is true that senior dogs will require more practice, they certainly CAN be taught new manners, tricks, commands, and cues. Whether you feel like you neglected training your aged dog properly during his lifetime, or adopted an already elderly pup, remember that they can learn–all it takes is patience and persistence.

Myth #2: To Housebreak Dogs, ‘Rub Their Nose In It’

Nobody likes coming home to dog pee or poop on the floor. “Common wisdom” tells us that in order to teach a dog that they should not urinate or defecate inside, we should “rub their nose in it.” In reality, though, this kind of discipline can cause more harm than good. You can only teach a dog that pottying in the house is wrong if you catch them in the act. Even then, you should not rub their nose in it. Instead, just give them a sharp “no” and take them outside immediately. If you try rubbing their nose in something that is essentially ancient history to them, you may end up causing them serious anxiety. For example, they may come to believe that you disapprove of them pottying altogether. This could, in turn, lead to them eating or trying to hide their feces so that you don’t punish them. 

Myth #3: Dogs Are Color Blind

We’ve seen it in mainstream cartoons and movies for years: dogs only see in black and white. This “knowledge” was based on outdated research. The truth is that dogs can see shades of yellow, blue, and violet. Interesting, right? While it’s true that they can’t see all the same colors that we humans can, they can certainly detect many more shades and hues than people had once believed. Now that you know this, be sure to shower your furry friend with lots of colorful toys!  

3 Tips to Improve Your Dogs Oral Health

Oral health is something most humans take seriously. From a very early age, we’re taught to brush, floss and take care of our pearly whites. We wouldn’t consider going a day without cleaning the plaque off with a toothbrush and removing any offensive odors from our mouths. We should be doing the same for our dogs.

Today families are taking their pets on vacations, having mealtime together and even sharing the same bed. If you want to help your pup keep his oral and physical health intact then adding a mouth cleaning routine to their day should also be part of the plan.

In addition to brushing, regular check-ups for oral health should also be done by a professional veterinarian.

Many dogs suffer from periodontal disease and even fractured teeth. Since they cannot speak to tell us about any pain or discomfort then we must be proactive in protecting their teeth.

Here are 3 things you can start doing to take better care of your dog’s oral health.

1. Look Inside Their Mouth

Take the time to look into your pet’s mouth and visually examine their teeth. If you notice any cracks or dark spots on the teeth it could be a sign that there are other underlying issues or an upcoming tooth problem. Catching these early on is critical to keep your dog comfortable and safe.  

2. Use Pet Safe Dental Brush and Paste

Doggy breath might be cute when they are puppies but as your dog grows, the odors in his mouth can become quite noticeable. If you can keep the inside of his mouth clean he will feel fresh too. You may choose to just wipe their mouth clean with a damp cloth or there are different pastes and brushes made specifically for pets. Be sure they are veterinarian approved. There are also dental dog treats that can help with scraping debris off their teeth and masking odor.

3. Clean up Their Diet

Food plays a major role in how healthy your dog’s mouth feels and looks. You can help keep their teeth in good condition by feeding them a notorious healthy and balanced diet. Talk to your vet about a good kibble choice and avoid giving your pet any scraps of food from the human diet. There are far too many sugars and carbohydrates in the food for their teeth and bellies to withstand.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides peace of mind knowing your pet is protected and can roam freely around the areas you’ve designated in the home and around your yard. We also offer training, service, and repairs.

Get in touch today!

How Getting a Dog Can Take Your Relationship to the Next Level

With Valentine’s Day nearing and love in the air, we thought it was only right to talk about a love-centered topic here on the blog.

Did you know that when you’re ready to get a pet together, it can mean great things for your relationship? Today our four-legged friends are as much a part of the family as any other members so making the commitment to get a pet together is a very serious step.

Here are 3 reasons that deciding to get a dog together can take your long term relationship to the next level.

1.      A Taste of Parenting

If you are not yet married or do not have kids, this is a great way to get a taste of parenting together. Pets – especially puppies – require a lot of love care and attention. Much like a small child. As you work together to love and nurture your pet you will find even more to love about one another.

2.      Grow Closer Together

Most pet households will confess that having their furry friend around has brought their relationships closer together. Whether you’re bonding over a new trick or cute thing your pet is doing or the snuggles they come to give the both of you when you’re just relaxing together, there’s something to love about the warmth of a pet already added to a loving home.

3.      Greater Communication

Having a pet can certainly be beneficial in the communication department. Scheduling vet visits, chipping in with daily walks and ensuring feedings happen are all must-do, daily tasks that you’ll learn to work together on and see your communications channels open up with one another more as a result.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass. we want you and your pup to feel safe and confident around the house and yard. Our pet containment systems make it possible to set-up boundaries so your pet can roam and play freely.


Do Dogs Need Coats in the Winter?

The number of families that are adding a furry friend to their homes is growing today. Not only are these pets becoming just like other members of the family – vacationing and even eating holiday meals with the family, but they’re also spending a lot more time together with their owners in public.

On the East Coast, where temperatures can fall well below freezing in the winter months, you might be considering purchasing a coat and some snow boots for your pup. Before you do though, here are some things to keep in mind regarding dogs and coats.

Fashion Can Be Pesky

If you’re buying your dog cute coats because you want to make a fashion statement you should definitely consider whether or not your dog is comfortable or even likes wearing the gear at all.  If they are putting up a fighting or scratching at the clothing trying to remove it, chances are your dog doesn’t like the clothing and may not need it anyways. Clothing that is too tight can also cause scaring and other issues so be careful when dressing your pup.

Not All Dogs Need Coats

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to purchase a coat for your dog because you are genuinely worried that they will get cold outdoors, it makes sense to learn a little more about your particular breed and what they can tolerate. If your dog is long-haired for example, they may naturally be equipped to handle cold temps as their fur works just like a coat.

Other Factors to Consider

Dogs that would benefit from the use of a sweater or coat on cold days either way include those with medical conditions, old age or who have shown signs of disliking the cold weather whenever you head outside. Very small dogs and those that will be outdoors for extended periods of time in the cold could also benefit from a coat. Remember to size accurately including a covering that will protect their neck and tail.

Need a pet containment system and perimeter training? DogWatch of Western Mass. offers experts to set-up areas of freedom for your pet in and outside of your home and who guide you through the process. 

Call today!

Resolve for Pet Health in 2020

With New Year’s resolutions on the minds of many, now’s a great time to incorporate new wellness initiatives for your pet too. Physical activity is a necessity for animals as they thrive over the ability to use their energy (some dogs more than others). Even with winter weather here, it’s important to get enough walks and active time in daily.

Here are some tips for helping your pet stay healthy this winter.

Monitor Paw Health
During the cold season, with snow and ice on the ground as well as salts and other ice-melting materials being throw down, it’s more important than ever to check your pet’s paws for signs of damage or injury and to take extra care to keep them protected. After all walks and bathroom stop outdoors wipe your pet’s paws clean with a towel to remove extra ice, salt, and other chemicals. You can also purchase booties to protect their paws or use a petroleum-type jelly to protect their paw pads while they’re outdoors.

Less Bathing
Your dog can deal with dry, itchy skin in the winter months just like you. One way to help reduce the chances they’ll be dealing with this choose a moisturizing wash that conditions their coat and skin with extra moisture. You should also reduce the number of times you bathe your dog. There are a number of wipes, spray shampoos and other coat fresheners to help in between baths.

Plan for Activity Time
Depending on where you live and what weather conditions are like at the time, it might be difficult to get outside for extended periods of time. In addition to frostbite threats for you and your dog, some pets simply won’t tolerate being out in the elements. Since activity time is still vital, consider adding more space indoors where your dog has the freedom to roam. Play hide and seek or tag in a safe space and set-up a wireless indoor containment system so running around freely without posing harm or risk to your home is possible.

Dogwatch of Western Mass is a local authorized dealer and installer of DogWatch Hidden Fence products. Servicing Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties as well as the Sturbridge to Sutton Area in Massachusetts, Linda Smyth is also a Divine K9 Animal Behaviorist. Contact us today!

Tips for Choosing a Family Dog

Here at Dogwatch of Western, Mass. we’re self-proclaimed dog lovers. We believe every breed, size, and type is a lovable and amazing option for welcoming into the home. There are, however, many conditions to consider if you’ve made the decision to bring a dog into your family.

Here are a few of the things to think about before you welcome a new pet into your home.

What Age Should Kids Get a Pet?

Now that the holiday season is well underway and last-minute gifts are being bought, you might be considering giving in to your child’s wish for a pet. Before you head to the local pet store to buy one for under the tree, remember that having a pet is a giant responsibility – especially a dog. One you may end up having to take over if your children are still young. These animals must be fed, bathed, cared for just like another human in the household. If that doesn’t sound like something you’ll have the extra time and resources for, try moving to a different item on their wish list or starting out small like with a fish.

Speaking of age, a lot of people wonder when a good time is to give children the responsibility of caring for a pet. Experts suggest homes with children as young as 5 could have pets if the parents are going to help, or 10 years and older if they plan to lean on the child to do more of the caring. It really depends on each individual child and the living situation.

Don’t Forget About Shelters

If you will be getting a pet, consider going to shelters that are already overcrowded with animals who need a good home rather than buying from a pet store or breeder. If you can save one animal’s life and give them the affection and attention they are longing for, you’ve already accomplished a major holiday miracle.

Family-Friendly Breeds

The great thing about bringing a dog into your home is that they can be a terrific source of love for all members – young and old. Dogs provide an unconditional affection that is unique while also helping to teach children about responsibility and compassion. Choosing a dog that works well in your home environment and with the members of your family can be tricky. It’s important to do your research and talk to a professional about the breed you’re considering adopting. Knowing about their energy levels, how much training they are going to need and how patient they are will all play a role in how well they blend into your home. According to the AKC, some of the top dog breeds for families include the: French Bulldog, Pug, Golden Retriever and Bulldog.

Once you have your new furry family member, be sure to reach out to us to set-up safe perimeters for containment around your home and yard. This gives pets the ultimate freedom and offers you peace of mind knowing your restricted areas of the home will remain off-limits.

Contact us today!