With springtime and social distancing, a lot of people are turning to their yards for some time outside and also for a relaxing activity: gardening. If your pet will be out there as you tend to the plants, keep them away from these harmful toxins commonly found in gardens.

  1. Compost — Composting is good for the environment, but not so good for your pet. As the organic matter in compost decomposes, molds will grow. Some of these molds produce tremorgenic mycotoxins. If your pet gets into moldy compost, he might experience panting, agitation, drooling, vomiting, tremors, and seizures.
  2. Meal-based fertilizers — Most fertilizers won’t harm your pets, but those containing bone meal, blood meal, or feather meal can be tempting to dogs and can cause problems when ingested. If too much is consumed, a concentration in the stomach can form, potentially obstructing the gastrointestinal tract and causing pancreatitis. 
  3. Slug and snail baits — Are slugs and snails a problem in your yard? If you have a pet, avoid the use of slug and snail baits that contain metaldehyde, a chemical that is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. Signs of metaldehyde ingestion include restlessness, salivation, seizures, tremors, vomiting, and a high fever that can result in death.
  4. Cocoa mulch — Made of discarded cocoa bean shells, cocoa mulch, has a tempting chocolate-like smell that can attract dogs. Because the discarded shells are the byproducts of chocolate production, they can contain theobromine and caffeine, the two ingredients in chocolate that are harmful to dogs. If your dog consumes a mulch variety with higher levels of the toxins, he could experience diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and even death.
  5. Pesticides and insecticides — Watch for pesticides or insecticides that contain organophosphates, which are often found in systemic rose care products. Ingestion of even a small amount of a product containing this chemical can be life-threatening for your pet.

And, of course, some of the most common outdoor toxins for our pets are flowers and plants. Not sure about some of the plants in your yard? Check out this list of toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested any of these, call us immediately at (713) 452-0474. Do not wait until you start to see symptoms.

Stay safe and happy gardening!