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How to Keep Pets Safe in the Garden

We love to spend time outdoors with our dog in the summer. But did you know that some of the common garden plants, mulches and herbicides are poisonous? Here’s how to keep pets safe in the garden.

Check your yard and garden shed for these hazards that can negatively impact the well-being of your pets.

collie dog in flower garden

Poisonous Plants

Some common plants can be dangerous for animals, causing anything from mild oral irritations and upset stomachs to cardiovascular damage and even death. For example, these are some of the toxic plants the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has identified as harmful for either cats or dogs:

  • Aloe – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, anorexia and depression
  • Azalea – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, cardiovascular collapse and death
  • Burning bush – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and weakness, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities with large doses
  • Caladium – can cause burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing
  • Daylilies – can cause kidney failure in cats
  • Hibiscus – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia

Compost

The decomposing elements that make compost good can be bad for pets, according to the National Garden Society. Keep compost in a secure container or fenced off area so pets can’t get to it.

Mulch

Cocoa mulch can be a particular problem for dogs. A byproduct of chocolate production, cocoa mulch can cause digestive problems and even seizures in dogs. Shredded pine or cedar mulch is a safer choice.

How to Keep Pets Safe in the Garden this summer

Fertilizer and Insecticides

The chemicals used to get rid of pests or make your lawn lush can be toxic to pets. Some of the most dangerous pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poison, according to the ASPCA.

Follow all instructions carefully, and store pesticides and fertilizers in a secure area out of the reach of animals.

puppy in flower bed garden
dog in black eyed susans

Fleas and Ticks

In addition to using appropriate flea and tick prevention methods such as collars and sprays, make sure your yard isn’t a welcoming environment for these pests. Keep the lawn trimmed and remove brush and detritus, where fleas and ticks often lurk.

Fleas can cause hair loss, scabs, excessive scratching, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can do all of that, plus bring you and your family in contact with diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

dog in japanese garb by cherry blossoms in spring

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