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Pet-friendly Landscaping: Keep Fido Healthy!

June 18, 2014

Every year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handles tens of thousands of calls from anxious people whose pets have come in contact with hazardous plants, insecticides, and weed killers. Poisoning can range from discomfort to death, so homeowners need to know what’s lurking in the great outdoors where your pet roams. Dogs and cats are naturally curious creatures. Their highly developed sense of smell attracts them to fragrances we mere humans can’t sniff out. So, they’ll venture into plants, seek shade among the greenery, and nibble on places where bugs are dwelling. Some of the beautiful flowers you love can cause a wide range of medical problems if your dog decides to snack on them. Hyacinth, narcissus, tulips, daffodils, iris, crocus, gladiolas, hydrangea, oleander, lily of the valley, foxglove, English ivy, dieffenbachia, and cyclamen should be avoided if you have a wandering pup. Rhododendron, azalea, and the sago palm are also toxic to dogs and cats. Bulbs can be toxic to digging dogs, so avoid them, too! On the safe side, impatiens, columbine, begonia, primrose, coleus, and nasturtium can add beautiful color to your garden and landscape without adding dangerous poisons. Check out this list of pet-safe annuals and perennials. Before planting anything where your pet might wander, check out VeterinaryPartner’s list of plants that are poisonous to your pet. Also consider the mulch you spread in your garden. Cocoa mulch has the aroma of chocolate, which can be tempting to a dog. And, like any other chocolate consumption, the result could be vomiting and diarrhea, or far more serious. Instead of cocoa mulch, play it safe by using shredded pine, cedar, or hemlock bark. Finally, remember that insecticides, pesticides, and plant food can be toxic for pets. The ASPCA suggest you avoid all rat poisons and any chemicals with the following ingredients: metaldehyde, methomyl, disyston, disulfoton, zinc phosphide. Make your yard beautiful and safe for everyone in your family. Make sure everything you plant is pet-safe.

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