It’s finally Spring, and as it thaw begins, many of us will be heading outside to get our yards into their best shape. But, if your pets spend time in the yard, too, beware some of the common outdoor items that could be toxic. As you get your landscaping in order, be sure to make sure everything that’s being used is pet-friendly. If you do this work yourself, be sure to consult the place you purchase supplies. If you have someone do this for you, it’s important to make sure they’re using pet-friendly materials.

These five garden items are toxic to pets, so make sure to avoid these when sprucing up your yard:

  1. Pesticides and insecticides can cause real health issues for your pet. — 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.
  2. Meal-based fertilizers should not be ingested by pets. — 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. Try to find slug and snail baits that do not contain metaldehyde. — 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. If your pet ingests metaldehyde, you’ll notice restlessness, salivation, seizures, tremors, vomiting, and a high fever that can result in death.
  4. Cocoa mulch is a big no-no. — 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. 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 which produce tremorgenic mycotoxins. If your pet gets into moldy compost, he might experience panting, agitation, drooling, vomiting, tremors, and seizures.

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 think your pet has consumed a toxin in the yard, don’t wait until symptoms begin. Call our office immediately. If you find yourself in an emergency situation after-hours, be sure to contact one of our preferred emergency hospitals immediately.


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