Gardening Safety 101: Your Guide to Keeping Your Pet Safe

April 28, 2022


Spring has sprung and we are itching to get outside and spend some time in the garden! But before you do, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has some helpful tips to keep your furry friends safe in your springtime garden.

Plant with a Plan 

While many plants may be gorgeous additions to your garden, there are quite a few that can be dangerous, if not lethal, to our four-legged friends. Be sure to look at the below list of common toxic springtime plants before heading to the store and always consult our full list of toxic plants before bringing something new into your home or garden. 

  • Lilies are the plant of most concern for cat owners. If a cat ingests any part of a lily, or even grooms lily pollen from their fur, it could cause serious damage to their kidneys and potentially death. Both daylilies or Asiatic lilies have caused kidney failure in cats so keep lilies out of the house and wash your hands after working with lilies in the garden if you have cats.
  • Sago palms and other cycads are also very toxic but tend to be ingested by dogs more often than cats. The seeds are the most toxic part, but all parts of the plant can be a risk. Sago palms often cause vomiting and diarrhea but the main concern is liver failure and death. Sago palms are used for landscaping in warmer climates but can also be purchased in many garden and hardware stores throughout the United States to be used as decorative houseplants.
  • TulipsHyacinths and Irises can all pose a threat to your pet’s health. All three are toxic to cats and dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and drooling if ingested. While all parts of the plants are toxic, the bulbs are especially concentrated and therefore the most harmful part. 
  • Crocus has two different kinds of plants, one that blooms in spring (Crocus sp.) and one that blooms in the fall (Colchicum autumnale). The spring crocus can cause gastrointestinal upset like vomiting, diarrhea and drooling if any of the plant is ingested. The fall crocus is significantly more dangerous and can cause excessive vomiting and diarrhea and possibly even liver, kidney or bone marrow damage.
  • Daffodils most commonly cause vomiting, diarrhea and drooling when small amounts of plant material are ingested. If a large amount of daffodil bulbs are ingested, more serious signs such as depression, low blood pressure and rarely seizures in both dogs and cats can occur. 

Other Gardening Dangers 

While remaining mindful with your plants is important, there are other common hazards to look out for while gardening. Fertilizer, while great for your plants, can be extremely appealing and potentially dangerous to curious dogs. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and weakness or stiffness in your pet’s hind legs. Insecticides, which keep pesky bugs out of your garden, can also be hazardous to your furry friend if you don’t follow the directions on the bottle. 

As a rule of (green) thumb, make sure your pet is out of the area when you are using fertilizers or insecticides and always follow all the label instructions. If you plan on bringing one of the dangerous plants from the list above into your home or garden, make sure your yard is fenced in to keep any snooping noses and poking paws away.