Tips for a Pet-Safe Yard and Garden

May 12, 2021

a gray puppy standing on a brick raised garden bed

If your pets have been feeling a little cooped up over the winter, they are likely to welcome spring without any inhibitions! This means that pet parents should be extra vigilant and cautious when letting their furry friends explore outside. To help you out, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has created a list of common spring pet toxins to beware of. 

Nothing silly about LILIES. We can’t say this enough, lilies are extremely toxic to cats. Sometimes even just contact with a lily can cause kidney failure in our feline friends. This includes true lilies of the Lilium genus and daylilies of the Hemerocallis genus. To keep your kitties safe and sound, don’t bring lilies into the home if you have an indoor cat, and don’t let your cat in the garden if you have outdoor lilies.

Other FLOWERS with toxic powers. Most spring blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, irises and crocuses will cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. Their toxins are concentrated in the bulb. If the bulb is ingested, then severe gastrointestinal distress and potentially even a bowel obstruction can develop. Allium spp. also bloom in the spring. In addition to gastrointestinal symptoms, these plants can also cause destruction of red blood cells if enough is ingested. If your garden simply has to have these flowers, try keep it fenced off or inaccessible to pets. 

Beware if you host COMPOST. Compost piles are popular among home gardeners. They are also very popular with curious canines. Decomposing organic material is attractive to dogs, and they won’t hesitate to eat it. As these materials break down, fungal mycotoxins can form. These toxins can cause tremors and seizures in addition to vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs should never be allowed access to composting organic materials, so try fencing this area in or keeping it high up off the ground. 

On a quest against the PESTS? Pesticides such as herbicides, insecticides and rodenticides all pose potential dangers to our pets. If you are using liquid products, make sure the product is dry before the pet has any access to the area. Granular formulations should be watered well once applied. If piles of granules are left out, animals should not be allowed access to those areas. Rodenticides commonly contain attractants that are not only intriguing to rats, but to dogs too. In order to keep our four-legged friends safe, all rodent poisons should be placed out only in areas inaccessible to pets.

Get wiser with FERTILIZER. Fertilizers commonly contain bone meal, blood meal, bat guano and manures. These are all delicacies to the canine palate, so it’s not uncommon for dogs to ingest fertilizer. Fertilizer can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, unsteadiness and tremors. Keep any fertilized plots fenced off and any bags of fertilizer locked away. 

Heed your BIRDSEED. Spring is a very popular time at the bird feeders! Take caution as some birdseed will contain raisins. Ingestion of raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Since much birdseed ends up on the ground where it can be scavenged by watchful canines, it’s recommended to choose a seed without raisins if you have dogs.

If your pet has been exposed to any of these springtime dangers, or any potential toxin, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.