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Gardening with Your Dog

Winter is almost behind us and the thoughts of spring and beautiful gardens are starting to creep into our minds. Now is the time to start taking a good look at our garden and how it will impact on the safety of our pets.

Believe it or not, there are several common plants in our gardens, and also in our local parks and woodlands, which could cause your furry four legged friend to become extremely ill. Before we start planting or walking in the park or countryside, lets educate ourselves as to which plants are safe and which are not. As we know, our dogs often have a mind of their own and if something strikes their fancy and they start chewing, let’s be sure it’s safe for them.

Rhododendron and Azalea are both very popular plants in our gardens, but if ingested they can be very toxic to both dogs and cats, and it only takes a few leaves to cause serious problems.

Begonias, Cyclamen, Tulips and Daffodils are also very popular garden plants and are very toxic to our pets. The tubers, root portion or bulb portion are the most toxic parts of the plants. So if your dog is a digger, you should be very careful or remove them.

A lot of us have a shady spot in our garden and chances are we have a Hosta or two growing very nicely there – but this plant is toxic to both dogs and cats, so make sure your pet doesn’t have a craving for them.

The Castor Bean Plant is a very popular landscaping plant and although not in everyone’s garden, it is often used in many parks and public places. We should try our keep our dogs away from this one while walking in the park. Chewing on the leaves can cause pain in the abdomen, diarrhea and vomiting amongst other symptoms, so be wary.

Another plant often found in our natural gardens and in many parks and woodlands is Milkweed. This is a popular plant and essential to the well-being and continued life of monarch butterflies, but unfortunately is highly toxic to dogs as well as cats.

Lilies are found growing in most neighborhood gardens and various varieties also grow wild in many parks and woodlands. Although they are not toxic to dogs, they are extremely toxic to cats, even if only small pieces of the plant are ingested.

Ivies and Morning Glories are also popular garden plants, and although most dogs may not try going after a wall or fence of these popular privacy covers, if you happen to have the oddball dog who does, you may find your dog with severe diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain. The leaves of these plants are by far more toxic than the berries.

And how many of us have not tried our green thumbs at growing tomatoes in our garden. After all what is nicer than the smell of a freshly picked tomato?

Although the tomato is not among the most toxic plants to your pets, it can cause a lot of discomfort, diarrhea, dilated pupils and a slow heart rate. Unless your garden tomatoes are safely out of reach of your pets, it may be wiser to try growing tomatoes in pots that aren’t easily accessible to our little four legged friends.

If you find your dog enjoys chewing on the vegetation in your garden, adding bran flakes to his kibble may help deter the craving for chewing on your plants. However, you must still be vigilant when planning and planting your garden and be sure that if your pets have unsupervised access to the garden that only pet friendly plants are accessible. Alternatively, your garden plants can be protected by fences or pots which are out of reach of your pets.

The flowers and plants mentioned here are by no means a complete guide to those which may be harmful to your pets. Do your homework before you put on those gardening gloves and research the plants and flowers that you plan on growing in your garden, and be sure that you can both enjoy them safely.

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