Is Your Garden Toxic?
As a responsible pet owner you always try to do what is best for your pet. You keep vaccinations up to date, you provide clean water and healthy food, and lots of love and attention, but have you checked your yard and home for harmful plants? March 16-22 is Poison Prevention Week, the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the plants growing in and around your home and identify any potential threats to your pets!
Whether you have houseplants, garden plants, wild plants, or cut flowers from a florist, it is important to know your plants! Poisonous plants can produce a variety of toxic substances which can cause adverse reactions in your pets ranging from mild nausea, to serious illness to even death.
Indoors, you have a greater control over what your pet may come in contact with. Avoid placing toxic houseplants, such as Peace Lilies, Aloe Vera, or Poinsettias, in any area your pet can access. If you have a pet who likes to jump, climb and explore, you may choose to remove any toxic houseplants all together. Consider non-toxic, attractive alternative houseplants such as African Violets, Wax Plants, or Christmas Cactuses.
Outside, you may have greater difficulty, especially if you allow your pet to roam in a larger area. You should survey your yard for any obvious potential hazards. Remove any poisonous plants from around your home, and regularly remove any mushrooms that may be growing in your yard. If there are decorative outdoor plants that you cannot live without, you should plant them in a fenced in area your pet will not be able to enter. A few common, highly toxic, plants you may encounter in or around your yard are Jimson Weed, Foxglove, Oleander, Poison Oak, Amaryllis, Lobelia, Primrose, Nightshade, and Juniper.
If you are unsure of any plant, ask! Local garden centers can be a great wealth of knowledge when trying to identify a plant species and its level of toxicity. Your veterinarian can also help you identify if a plant may be harmful to your pet. You may also call the Poison Control Center with any questions regarding poisonous plants.
To discourage a dogs craving for vegetation, you may try switching your dog’s food to one higher in vegetable fibers, or adding bran flakes to its food. If your cat can’t resist your houseplants, there you may try a deterrent spray designed to make plants taste unappealing. When outside, keep an eye on your pets and keep them from munching on anything that you don’t know is safe.
If your pet has consumed any sort of plant material, keep an out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, salivation, weakness, abnormal urine, or any other abnormal behavior. If any of these symptoms present themselves, contact your veterinarian right away.