Tips from Petplan for pet safe gardening this summer

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Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on May 20 2011

I think that it is safe to say that winter is finally over for the year, and the warm weather has turned thoughts to landscaping and gardening. As we spend more time outdoors, planting and cultivating flowers and shrubs, be mindful of the potential hazards your garden can pose to your pets.

Many beautiful outdoor plants are toxic to pets. Check your garden for the following:

  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Azaleas and Rhododendron
  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Elephant Ears

These plants, and many others, can cause symptoms from mild gastric or oral irritation to heart arrhythmias and death.

Other things that help your garden flourish are toxic to your pets. Fertilizers and insecticides keep your plants looking their best, but keep them both out of reach of your cats and dogs. While most fertilizers will just cause gastrointestinal upset, ingestion of large amounts may cause intestinal obstruction. Read and follow the package instructions regarding pet exposure to fertilizers and insecticides. Snail, mole and gopher bait are technically not insecticides, but are dangerous to our pets, as is rat poison. Be very careful not to leave these in areas of the yard with pet access.

Cocoa mulch is a handsome and popular choice for mulching flower beds, but did you know that it can be toxic to dogs and cats? Its sweet aroma attracts curious pets, and ingestion can ause restlessness, tremors and seizures.

Even if your garden is organic, it may still pose a hazard. Compost is a great addition to your garden soil, but its contents are not so great for your dog. Coffee grinds, moldy foods and some vegetables are harmful to your pets if ingested. Be mindful of your pet’s access to your compost.

Gardening can be a family affair, and it’s natural to want your pets by your side as you beautify your yard. Remember that dogs and cats are also susceptible to many of the same outdoor hazards that we are - insect bites or stings, snakebites and sunburn to name a few. Protect yourself and your pet from these outdoor hazards so that you can both enjoy the dog days of summer.