Lawn & Garden Safety: Popular Plants Toxic to Pets

WN_iStock_000040717586_LargeFor the green thumbs among us, spring and summer are prime time as we prep the garden beds and plan for a verdant, blooming yard. While preparing for the lawn and garden seasons can be a source of pleasure, our selections in vegetation can be a source of danger for pets. Many popular plants, trees, and shrubs are also toxic to pets, which means it’s important to review your selections before the planting begins.

It Starts with the Soil

Before we get into the actual plants that can pose risks to Fido or Fluffy, there are perils among those flower and vegetable beds that need to be addressed. Many lawn and garden prep products, such as mulches and amenders, are actually just as poisonous as some of the poisonous blooms we are familiar with.

In this region, cocoa bean shell mulch is popular, but can make your pet very ill. The main ingredient contains the pet toxic substance similar to caffeine and can cause tremors, vomiting, and neurological problems for pets who ingest this product.

Other lawn and garden products to avoid include:

  • Compost, which contains toxic food scraps as well as dangerous molds
  • Slug, snail, gopher, and mole baits
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Rodenticides

If your green-friendly lifestyle includes composting, simply create an enclosure around your composting area with wildlife and pet proof fencing.

Noxious Blooms: Avoiding Plants Toxic to Pets

While the brightest blossoms and ever-green plants appeal to the eye, there are some plant selections pet guardians will want to avoid this season. Of course, this is a partial list based on the most common plants. For a complete list of pet toxic plants, consult the ASCPA’s full library of pet poisons.

  • Sage palm
  • Lilies (create life-threatening emergencies in cats)
  • Azalea
  • Tulips
  • Oleander
  • Castor bean
  • Crocus
  • Lily of the Valley

Keeping Your Pet Safe Outdoors

When considering the many plants available on the market, it can be daunting to consider which ones not be safe for pets. That is why bookmarking a resource such as the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants is advised; it takes the guesswork out of your future plant purchases.

Other tips to protect your pet from lawn and garden hazards include:

  • Discourage your pet from chewing on plants and grasses, or digging in garden beds.
  • Pesticides have been linked to certain pet cancers, so steer clear of yards and parks that use chemicals and wipe off your pet’s feet with a damp washcloth after a walk.
  • Observe your pet when at a friend or family member’s home, since you may not know what plants or toxins are in the yard.
  • Stow away all chemicals, baits, and automobile additives in a secure cabinet or storage bin.
  • Fruit trees pose major risks as the pits of many fruits, such as apricots and peaches, contain strychnine, which can poison your pet. Avoid planting pit-based fruit trees or apple trees.

Working in the yard or garden while your pet enjoys the morning sun is one of the warm weather joys. There are numerous plants and other foliage that are entirely pet safe. Some are even delectable for your pet, such as cat grass and catnip. By educating yourself on animal safe plants, you can have that beautiful garden or yard of your dreams without imperiling your precious pet.

If you have any questions about pet toxics, we are here to help.

posted in:  Pet Safety