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Dangers in the Garden

By: Janet Elliott

There are many plants that can be toxic; ranging from ones that will leave your dog with an upset stomach to plants that, when ingested, can be fatal.

Here is a short list of some of the more commonly planted toxic plants:

For a more extensive list of toxic plants got to the ASPCA web site here.  

Houseplants that can be mildly toxic include: Philodendron, schefflerea, croton, Jade, Aloe Vera, Pathos and ivy. Any of these can cause vomiting diarrhea and difficulty breathing.

Don’t be discouraged, there are still plenty of non-toxic plants to choose from; Zinnia, Snapdragons, Petunia, Begonia,  New Guinea Impatiens, Violet, Calendula, Roses, Primrose, Nasturtium, Coleus, and Columbine. Some indoor non-toxic plants include African violets, Boston ferns, spider plants, and palms.

Dangerous Foods in your Garden

While researching for this article I was surprised to learn that grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs causing renal failure. It is not known why but they are toxic but information on treatment is in the AnTox Poison control center database. Onions and avocados can also be toxic.

Other Dangers in the Garden

Most people with dogs are cautious about chemicals used in the yard but we might not think of mulch as being hazardous. Cocoa Mulch, sold by Home Depot and some other garden supply stores contains a lethal ingredient called Theobromine. This is the same ingredient that is the toxic factor in chocolate. The chances of a dog eating mulch may be slim but cocoa mulch does have an attractive odor to pets and there is no reason to take any chances.

Contact your Vet!

If you believe that your dog has eaten a plant that may be toxic always contact your vet. Some toxins do not cause illness immediately so don’t assume that your dog is fine if he shows no immediate symptoms. Try to figure out how much he might have eaten and what parts of the plant were eaten. Frequently only parts of the plant are toxic, seeds, leaves, roots. Bring a sample with you to the vet of anything your dog may have vomited, any stools that he might have passed and a large sample of the plant he has ingested.

Animal Poison Control Center

In the event that your dog has been poisoned and you are unable to reach your vet keep the number for Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) handy. There is a small charge for their service. At the ASPCA web site (listed above), you can order a free magnet with the phone number and web site for the Animal Poison Control Center. The data base of information at the Poison Control Center web site is so extensive that many vets will call them for information so if your vet seems at all unsure about treatment don’t be reluctant to ask him to call.