It’s just past Mother’s Day which means it’s the perfect time of year to plant your garden.  However, some hidden dangers exist in the garden that can be harmful to your dog.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when gardening this year.

  1. Lawn edging can cut the pads of paws and cause lacerations on legs.  We see many cases of cut pads from lawn edging during the spring and summer months every year.  Some good alternatives include: stone edging, composite edging, or rubber.
  2. Compost is toxic to pets – it’s essentially a fermenting, rotted & moldy heap of organic materials, but if ingested, can cause Gi issues and possible toxicity.
  3. Train your dog.  It helps to let your dog know where he/she can and cannot go within the yard.  Try bringing them just to the border of where it is ok to be and the “danger zone” and pull them back when they cross.  This will help them from either getting themselves into trouble by trampling flowers or digging up gardens, but will also keep them out of harms way.
  4. Beware of Rhubarb.  It makes for delicious pies and wine, but Rhubarb leaves are highly toxic to both dogs and cats.  If your furry friends tend to put everything in their mouths, it might be best to either barricade the rhubarb, or skip it all together.  If rhubarb is ingested, common signs to watch for include: drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors, bloody urine or excessive thirst.  If any of these signs occur in your dog or cat, take them to you veterinarian immediately.
  5. Baits & Pesticides.  This seems self-explanatory, but snail, rat, mice, and slug baits can be appealing to cats and dogs and may be accidentally ingested.  This can be fatal.  Instead, try “companion planting” – a method that a lot of organic farmers and wineries use: place a plant that notoriously attracts pests (such as lettuce, marigolds, or an extra row of veggies) near your garden and the pests will be drawn to those plants instead of your fruits & veggies.

Happy (almost) summer, and happy planting!

For a list of toxic plants visit the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list here.