Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 4
   August 2009
Keeping Pets Safe in the Garden

  This dog explores a garden
  It is important to supervise your pet's outdoor activities.

Many pets enjoy exploring garden foliage and scents. Unfortunately, the curious nature of pets can sometimes get them into trouble. A seemingly innocuous flowerbed or vegetable patch can be poisonous to cats and dogs. Owners can help their furry friends avoid danger by limiting the number of hazards and, what's more important, by supervising animals' outdoor activities.

Oakville, Ontario, veterinarian Dr. Wolfgang Zenker, DVM, M.Sc. (Path), MBA, says that an owner suspecting that a dog or cat has ingested a toxic substance should take the pet to the veterinarian immediately. "A veterinarian can easily induce vomiting within half an hour of ingestion of a poison", he says. "Time is of the essence—don't delay!" Dr. Zenker also points out that owners should remember that most dogs and cats are much smaller than humans, and a seemingly small amount of toxin can create a serious problem for them.

When it comes to creating an outdoor area that's pet safe, every gardener should be aware of the following.

Harmful Plants

Plant Name Toxic Effects on Cats and Dogs
(Lilium spp.)
Toxin: unknown.
Highly toxic to cats—ingestion of small amounts can cause severe kidney damage.
Castor bean
(Ricinus communis)
Toxin: ricin.
Seeds are highly toxic, but all parts of plant are poisonous.
Ingestion symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, loss of appetite and excessive thirst. Severe cases can result in death.
(Chrysanthemum spp.)
Toxin: pyrethrins (also found in insecticides).
Ingestion symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, dermatitis and lack of coordination.
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