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Spring and Summer Gardening Hazards 4 Pets:Safety Tips from your Vet

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

As I was enticed to get my hands dirty in the warm soil with my dog, Mia enjoying the sun on her gleaming coat (she had just been groomed and gotten her "stuff" on: our groomer's special coat conditioning treatment) it prudent to discuss some pet friendly points to ponder.  When we start our gardening and landscape projects stay away from toxic plants that could be dangerous to your pets.

When planning garden projects review a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic for cats and dogs at the ASPCA website www.aspca.org. Some of the most widely used spring and plants that are  potentially dangerous for pets include:

  • English Ivy: a common ground cover and often found as a house plant which causes digestive tract upset:vomiting and diarrhea,abdominal pain, drooling.

English Ivy                      

 

  • Azaleas: popular flowering shrubs which when the leaves are ingested result in digestive tract upset and in severe cases coma and death.describe the image

 

 

  • Yew: a common evergreen with red berries with all parts toxic and can cause trembling, lack of coordination,difficulty breathing, gastroinestinal upset and cardiac failure.

Yew

 

  • Castor bean: the seed is very toxic not just for pets but also for their people causing severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures,coma and death.

                                              Castor Bean Seeds

 

 

  • Lillies: typically found around the holidays these are highly toxic to cats and can lead to kidney damage and failure.

                                              Lillies

                                               

  • Tulip and daffodil bulbs: keep these perennial bulbs out of pets' reach because they cause GI upset, drooling, central nervous system depression, convulsions, and cardiac irregularities. The plants themselves are safe so once the bulbs are planted it should be fine unless your dog (or the neighborhood squirrels) dig them up!

                                   Tulip Bulb

Another danger is cocoa bean shell mulch which is popular with gardeners who want to conserve moisture and suppress weeds without that funky smell of traditional mulch (I'm always challenged to find the not too stinky smelling stuff!). Since it is made from the husk of cocoa beans and chocolate is toxic to animals causing muscle tremors and vomiting you're best advised to choose other more safe options.

And, with fleas and tick, those pesky parasites starting to cause problems remember to keep stored pesticides away from pets. Also, use the correct product for the pet you are treating: dog products can be toxic when used on cats causing death and make sure you are using the proper weight category product for your dogs. Just because you can buy a product without a prescription doesn't NOT ensure safety. Best to ask your pet's veterinarian for guidance and product selection.

Avoid slug baits which are among the most toxic things on the market! Alternatives which can include placing beer in a saucer can be effective unless the dog or cat decides to eat the slugs and drink the beer-which can happen with dangerous effects:alcohol poisoning does happen in this type of secondary exposure.

So, with some infomed choices we can all enjoy our yards and garden with our pets safely. Time to wash off my hands and Mia's paws...