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How Does your Garden Grow?

Author: Andrea Miller | Date: July 10, 2013

Gardens are working overtime to produce vegetables and flowers right now. And while you may be reaping the benefits in your fresh salads and table vases, gardens and yards can pose hazards to the four-legged members of your family.

When planting your green space, keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants are toxic to dogs.

Sago palm and other members of the Cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe all affect the heart.

In fact, there are 393 plants that have been reported to have systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract to the ASPCA. It’s an overwhelming compilation, but I guarantee you’ll find plants on this list that you had no idea could be toxic to dogs. I certainly did. The ASPCA says its list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a collection of the most frequently encountered plants.

Your dog should also be a factor in deciding on the type of mulch you use in your garden. Cocoa mulch is popular for its attractive odor and color but ingestion of large quantities of cocoa mulch by dogs can result in vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider a less-toxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark.

Fertilizers and pesticides may be necessary to keep your garden flourishing, but always store them in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer’s label carefully for proper usage around animals.

The best piece of advice, which may seem like common sense, is to monitor your dog in your yard. Dogs can easily get bored and chew on or dig up plants. It’s not good for them, or your garden!

If you think that your dog is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.

What plants on the list did you not know were toxic to dogs?


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