Grow Your Garden and Keep Your Pets Safe This Mother’s Day

May 11, 2017

a dog in a flower garden

For many of us, Mother’s Day marks the start of gardening season. But while you’re out enjoying the spring air and nurturing beautiful blooms, be sure to keep a close eye on your furry friends. Pets love to “help” when we are gardening, so it’s important to make sure that they are doing so safely. Here are some tips from the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) to help keep your pets safe this growing season.

  1. Fertilize with Caution. Fertilizers are wonderful for your lawn and your garden, but they can also be extremely appealing to your dog. Each year, APCC gets thousands of calls from pet owners whose dogs ingested fertilizers. Be careful to apply your fertilizers per the instructions on the labels, and keep your pets off of the lawn and out of the garden until they have been watered in, or it has rained and the fertilizer has since dried.
  2. Know your toxic plants. Many plants that are toxic to pets are also considered to be very beautiful. So it’s important to know which can be harmful to your pets before planting. You’ll want to be very careful to keep any of these toxic beauties away from your pets. For example, common landscaping plants such as Sago Palm (Cycas Revolta), Oleander (Nerium Oleander) and Foxglove (Digitalis sp.) are all lovely, but they can all cause severe and life-threatening toxicity if ingested by pets.
  3. Be Careful with Your Compost. Compost can be an important addition and provides organic matter that will keep your garden in tip-top shape, but a compost pile can also be a buffet for your pet. Moldy, decaying plant material can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause tremors and seizures in pets. Additionally, compost piles can contain other toxic food leftovers, such as grapes and onions. Be sure to keep your compost away from curious noses.
  4. Keep Chemicals Out of Paws’ Reach. Be sure to keep pets indoors while applying any herbicides and pesticides. Dogs and cats love to be around their owners, and can easily be accidentally sprayed with these products. Sometimes, they will even lick the chemicals off of the plants as they are being applied. To avoid this, make sure that you apply any herbicides or pesticides per the manufacturer’s directions, and keep pets out of treated areas as long as the manufacturer recommends.
  5. Beware of Certain Blooms. Some beautiful blooms should stay outside. Allium and lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis sp.) are (or will soon be) in full bloom. While these flowers would make a gorgeous bouquet for your dining room table, you may want to think twice. Curious cats inside may nibble on theses floral arrangements, which are toxic and pose a risk to their health.

Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you gear up for floral-filled holiday. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately. Wishing you and your four-legged family members a safe, happy and healthy Mother’s Day this year!