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Pet Safety and Gardening

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Blooming plants and buzzing insects can all spell trouble for your pets. 

Many fruits and vegetables ripen in spring, but not all are pet safe! Grapes and raisins contain toxins that can impair kidney function; seeds and pits of stone fruits (peaches, plums, apples and cherries) contain deadly cyanide or arsenic; onions and chives may cause hemolytic anemia; tomato and potato leaves and stems can result in digestive, nervous and/or urinary system difficulties; and iced tea or coffee could increase your pet’s heart rate and result in seizures. Carrots, green beans, broccoli, apples and bananas are safe and beneficial for most dogs and cats in moderation as long as they don’t become a choking hazard.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline®, these are the 10 most poisonous plants to our pets. All parts (unless otherwise indicated) can be deadly.

Autumn Crocus




Tulips & Hyacinths (especially bulbs)

Diffenbachia (leaves and stems)

Kalanchoe (also vase water is toxic)

Lilies (Tiger, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Snow can be fatal to cats while others may cause milder symptoms.)

Oleander (also smoke from burning branches and water in vase)

Sago Palm (seeds most deadly)

Place fertilizers, insecticides, weed killers and cleaners (use a pet-friendly white vinegar solution) out of reach. They can be absorbed through paws or ingested when grooming. Snail and slug bait pellets can cause seizures. Organic fertilizer does not mean pet-safe: Blood meal is flash-frozen blood that has been dried and ground and is tasty to pets. Often it is infused with iron resulting in a toxic overdose if consumed by Fido. Bone meal is made from animal bones ground to powder. When ingested, bone meal can form a large concrete-like ball in your pet’s stomach which requires surgical removal. Chemical-based weed killers are highly toxic to humans, pets and wildlife. Instead, mix up this do-it-yourself pet and people friendly weed killer:

1 Gallon White Vinegar

2 Cups Epsom Salts

¼ Cup Dawn® Dish Soap (the original blue works best)

Spray in the morning after the dew has evaporated, and by dinner time…weeds are gone!

Keeping Fido and Fluffy safe is a 24/7 job for pet parents. Know your nearest animal emergency center, what services they offer and how they accept payment. Keep this number handy: ASPCA’s Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435), and regularly bone-up on your pet first-aid skills. Preparing for the worst just may prevent the worst from happening!

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