When you have a puppy, you learn to “puppy proof” your house quickly as s/he can get into new things every day. As your dog ages and is supposedly better behaved, you start to relax and not worry so much about her/him getting into everything. Until one day. . .

Romeo is 15 months old now (September 2010), so he's very much still an adolescent. Most days he is very well-behaved, but every once in a while he reminds me that he still has more maturing to do. When we leave the house, Romeo is still crated to ensure his own safety as well as the safety of our household. However, when we are working outside and can't have him with us, we often leave him and his big sister, Jahzara, in the training room. It gives him a bit more freedom and room to move around without having access to too many things that could get him into trouble.

In the training room, there are several dog toys to play with and not a whole lot else. However, it is also the best room for the plants that need plenty of sunshine. We keep those plants behind ex-pens so that the dogs and cat don't have access to them. That's the theory anyway. However, this weekend, when we were working outside, one of the plants was a bit too close to the edge of the ex-pen. Romeo apparently was looking for something fun to do, and he decided to start removing the leaves from the plant. I don't think he consumed any of them, just was removing the leaves from the plant.

Just to be safe, I researched the plant – a jade plant – and found it can be toxic to dogs and cats. Uh oh! According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center website, the clinical signs of poisoning include: vomiting, depression, ataxia, and possibly slow heart rate (rare) . I also called our vet's office. They said to watch for any of those signs, but otherwise I didn't need to do anything as it was not likely he'd consumed much, if any, of the plant. Fortunately, Romeo was his usual self and we had no problems. Fortunately. But we will be more careful about ensuring the dogs and cat have no chance to get at any toxic plants in our house just in case we're not so lucky the next time.

Have you researched the plants in your house and garden? If not, you might want to do so on the ASPCA Poison Control Center website: