We are entering the season of renewal and beauty, but it can also be a stressful time for pet owners. Parasite prevention, microchipping, and vaccination might come to mind, but among the threats to pet health and safety are the plants that make spring and summer so delightful.

Undoubtedly, pet poisoning is a common occurrence, but with a fresh look at a pet-safe garden it doesn’t have to be.

Why Many Plants Are Risky

Many pets don’t have a taste for greenery or blooms, that is, until they decide on a whim to sample something that looks or smells appealing. And while some plants present zero risks to pets, some have side effects that range from mild to severe to deadly. With that in mind, the general rule of thumb is to discourage pets from eating all plants.

A Pet-Safe Garden

The ASPCA List of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants is an essential guide for pet owners interested in creating pet-safe gardens. Some of the most common spring blooms can cause a disastrous pet poisoning situation, including:

  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Crocus
  • Amaryllis
  • Morning glory
  • Oleander
  • Begonias
  • Azaleas
  • Carnations

Lilies are among the most poisonous plants, especially in cats. Even a little pollen swept up by the nose or tongue can cause damage. Please do not bring lilies inside the home, and never plant them in places your pet can easily access.

Herbs can be incredibly decorative and useful in the garden, but garlic, marjoram, bay laurel and mint can cause symptoms indicative of pet poisoning.

What Are the Symptoms?

Depending on what your pet gets into, the following range of symptoms could lead to a pet poisoning diagnosis:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pale or yellowed gums
  • Collapse
  • Weakness
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Abnormal behavior

We recommend seeking emergency veterinary care directly following the presence of any above symptoms. 

Where to Go from Here?

Since cats and dogs are known to explore and get down and dirty in their own backyards, it’s a good idea to remove other landscaping plants, such as boxwood, privet, and ivy that may result in a pet poisoning if eaten by a curious cat or dog. 

Also, keep an eye out for mushrooms that commonly pop up this time of year, and dispose of them promptly. Peach pits can be toxic to dogs. 

One With the Earth

In addition to toxic plants and flowers, there are garden components that can be risky to pets. Mulch, especially products like cocoa mulch, can cause dangerous reactions in pets. Be aware of any added colors or dyes to garden mulch, and use caution if considering rubber mulch. Dogs are known to pick up pieces of bark or landscaping mulch and tend to ingest it.

Fertilizers and compost products can also be hazardous to pets. Only purchase pet-safe products and allow your pet access to the yard after any sprays have been absorbed and dried. 

Products designed to control pets, parasites, rodents and insects should be carefully scrutinized to reduce the chances of pet poisoning.

Prevent a Pet Poisoning

Our team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center wants to help you prevent pet poisoning this spring and all year round! If you have further questions about what’s in your yard, please let us know