Spring Garden Safety

Will your pet be safe in your garden this spring?

It’s likely that your pet will spend some time in your garden this spring and summer. But unless you take care, there are many hazards to be carefully avoided. Plants are toxic to your pet. Mulch and fertilizer must be used with care or not used at all. It’s also important to keep your pet out of your neighbor’s yards. Here are some of the major concerns that the ASPCA recommends you be aware of:

Toxic garden plants

Dogs and cats need to avoid the Sago Palm, Rhododendron and Azalea. Many mushrooms are toxic, as well. Lily of the valley, Oleander, Foxglove, Rosebay and Kalanchoe all affect the heart. Foxglove is a popular perennial containing digitalis, which can cause abnormal heart rate and even death. You can check the ASPCA’s full list of toxic garden plants to make certain that you don’t subject your cat or dog to these dangers.

Avoid Harmful Fertilizer

When your pet eats fertilizer, it can lead to an upset stomach or to a threatening obstruction. Use fencing if necessary, but do keep your pet out of such areas.

Mulch made from cocoa beans

This type of mulch enhances your garden’s appearance, but is likely to make your dog sick. Depending on the amount ingested, adverse effects can range from vomiting and diarrhea to muscle tremors, elevated heart rate and hyperactivity. Less toxic alternatives are mulch from pine, cedar or hemlock bark.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides accumulate in ground water and air. Pesticides kill helpful insects, including pollinators needed for food crops and long term human survival. Some pesticides and herbicides have been linked to cancer, including pancreatic cancer. It’s possible to avoid dangerous chemicals in your garden by using natural methods to control weeds and pests. Simple methods like soapy water and marigolds work well without harmful side effects.


Compost food and garden waste to make healthy improvements to your garden soil.

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