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Gardens, Yards and Safe Pets

May 08, 2019

Green grass, gardening, barbecues – there’s a lot to look forward to about the summer, and no doubt you might have some yardwork or gardening plans you’re excited about.

Your pets are probably equally excited to be able to get outside and play while you’re doing yardwork. Just make sure they stay safe.

“Spring and summer are great times for people to play in the yard with their pets,” says Dr. Ibrahim Shokry, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Ross Vet. “But there are also some dangers for animals. Things, people do to their yards to make them beautiful may also pose a risk to their pets.”

Here’s a few things to consider the next time you hit the garden center.



They make your yard look and smell great, but some flowering plants can also be quite toxic, according to Dr. Shokry.

“You should be aware of flowering plants that are toxic to pets, such as azaleas, daffodils,tulips, lily of the valley and oleander,” Dr. Shokry said. “Most of these plants are mild in toxicity if eaten by a pet, but some are lethal.”

Oleander is high on the danger list, as one leaf can kill a dog or cat. Lilies are also highly toxic to cats if ingested.


Grass Seed

If you’re filling in holes in your lawn this spring, make sure your dog stays away from it.

“Grass seed is one of the most common problems that vets see in the spring and summer, especially dogs,” Dr. Shokry said. “The seeds can penetrate the skin easily and can get lodged in the body.”


Insecticides and rodenticides

Both these are designed to kill or keep animals and bugs away. Thus, you should definitely keep pets away from them.

Even when ingested in small amounts, both rat/mouse poisons and insecticides can be lethal, especially in cats.

One thing to especially be aware of is the effects can be delayed.

“Sometimes an owner will see their pet eat these, and when they don’t show any distress signs, they think the pet is ok,” Dr. Shokry said. “Many times, you won’t see signs until two days later, and then it can be too late.



Both natural and commercial versions can be dangerous. Dr. Shokry advises you to read the labels carefully.



They’re a nuisance in yards and also pose a big danger to pets.

“Many species have toxins, which can cause liver damage,” Dr. Shokry said. “Identifying poisonous mushrooms is difficult. So if ingested, take your pet to the vet immediately.”


Snail and Slug Bait

Similar to insecticides, these are designed to kill. Worse, they’re often made with apple meal or something sweet to attract slugs. That sweetness can also attract dogs, which can then be exposed to the harmful chemicals. Even the ones that claim to be non toxic can still cause eye irritation.

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