Plant Safe for Dogs – Gardening Hazards to Pets

As you dodge the raindrops of those April showers to plant a landscape of colorful May flowers, your pets are probably all too happy to lend a helping paw. Be aware that many of the things that help to make your garden beautiful can be toxic to your furry friends. Dogs and plants can coexist safely if you make the right selections of dog safe plants and figure out how to keep dogs away from plants.

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Banish the Bulbs

Dogs and plants that come from bulbs are a recipe for disaster. If your canine companion lives to excavate the yard and till your garden, be sure to banish your dog from areas where flower bulbs are planted. Flower bulbs contain concentrated levels of toxins that are hazardous to your pets when consumed. Store all unplanted bulbs in a secure location away from your pets’ access. In addition to the bulbs themselves, the blooms, leaves and stems of many of these plants can also pose toxicity to indiscriminate nibblers.

Some common blooms that sprout from bulbs include:

  • Crocuses
  • Daffodils
  • Tulips
  • Hyacinths
  • Amaryllis
  • Lilies
  • Poisonous Beauty

    When landscapes display their colorful shows, courtesy of flowering shrubs, trees and plants that climb and weave their way around trellises, remember that many of these pretty petals are poisonous to your pets. Ornamental foliage plants that produce decorative berries are also dangerous when devoured. As the first step toward determining how to keep dogs away from plants, consider relegating these landscape plants to locations of your property that your pet does not frequent.

    Some of the common ornamental shrubs, trees and climbers that are toxic to pets include:

  • Azalea
  • Rhododendron
  • Yew
  • Hibiscus
  • Wisteria
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Bradford pear
  • Holly
  • Ivy
  • Clematis
  • Morning Glory
  • Not So Nutritious

    If you plan to plant many of your kitchen vegetables, fruits and herbs, be sure to determine which of these plants and trees can be harmful for your pets. Many fruit trees can shed wilting leaves that are toxic, and if your pet consumes the fallen fruits, the pits and seeds pose threats of toxicity, choking and bowel blockage. Clean up all fallen material each day from underneath the fruit trees. Some plants, such as tomato plants, contain toxins in the stems and leaves. Install an enclosure around your vegetable and herb garden so that your pets cannot access it, and consider spraying a pet deterrent around the perimeter.

    Some common produce plants that are toxic to pets include:

  • Tomato plants
  • Potato plants
  • Avocado
  • Rhubarb
  • Chives
  • Apple trees
  • Peach trees
  • Cherry trees
  • Apricot trees
  • Black walnut trees
  • Pick Safe Flowers

    Before planting season is underway, do a little research into which flowers are plants safe for dogs for your garden. There are thousands of varieties of flowering plants, and some may be toxic to cats only, to dogs only or to both species. The Animal Poison Control Center is a valuable resource for accessing lists of toxic and non-toxic plants.

    Some common summer garden flowers that are dog safe plants include:

  • Zinnias
  • Impatiens
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Petunias
  • Alyssum
  • Sunflowers
  • No Munching On Mulch, Please

    Cocoa mulch has become a popular choice for gardeners. Cocoa mulch is produced from the shells of cocoa beans. The chocolate aroma is tempting to dogs, but this toxic treat contains theobromine. Consumption of theobromine, which is found in all forms of chocolate, can result in vomiting, diarrhea, seizure activity and death. Cocoa mulch, like chocolate, also contains caffeine. While you may kick off each day with a morning jolt of java-induced energy, caffeine can cause hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizure activity and death if your pet partakes. With this double dose of toxicity, keep cocoa mulch out of your garden altogether if your pets have access to the garden beds.

    While wood mulches and gravel are safer alternatives, supervise your teething puppy around these products. Chewing and ingesting moderate amounts of either product can result in a potentially fatal bowel blockage.

    Pesticides and Herbicides

    The chemical substances that you apply to your lawn and garden pose just as much danger to your pets as the toxic plants. Some of the common ingredients of many of these products that you should avoid include:

  • Bone meal
  • Blood meal
  • Disufoton
  • Organophosphates
  • Iron
  • Metaldehyde
  • When applying any chemical herbicide, pesticide or fertilizer to your property, sequester the pets indoors. Allow the applied product to dry completely before you release the hounds, and keep all of these products stored in a securely locked location.

    Confine Your Compost

    If you prefer to feed your garden with compost, be sure to install a secure enclosure for your compost pile. Compost, which is created from decomposing organic material, is a prime medium for the growth of molds that contain tremorgenic mycotoxins. These toxins will make your dog or cat severely ill if consumed.

    If you follow these gardening tips and select plants safe for dogs, you and your pets can enjoy the beauty of the garden from spring through fall.

    Learn more about Poison control for dogs

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