Planting a Pet-Safe Garden

A 3 minute read, Posted on Tue, May 9, 2017

As the spring days warm up and the ground starts to thaw, gardeners are reminded that soon it will be time to plant the garden. There is a sense of pride that homeowners take in how a yard looks, how the flowerbeds are arranged and how every little detail when put together is what makes it home. The beauty of the yard is a wonder to look at, but if you own a pet, you might need to wonder about how safe it is for them.

One controversial danger for pets is the application of weed killer. Some pet owners are not aware that dogs will eat grass because they have an upset stomach. They seem to choose the taller thicker grass that also grows at the edge of most gardens. The same type of grass that many homeowners want to get rid of.

Depending on the chemicals found in the weed killer, it might have a sweet smell to it and possibly attract the dog to that area. This could cause a poisoning resulting in a mild stomach upset or even be fatal for your pet. A cost free option to reduce or kill weeds instead of applying weed killer is to use hot boiling water and pour it directly on the weed. A tea kettle filled with the hot water is safest way to carry the kettle. Take extra precaution when handling a hot kettle and wrap the bottom of the kettle with a towel.

Be aware that many of the plants that are planted in a garden could be poisonous. Since the range of plants are too numerous to list each one, take time to make a list and research the plants that you have in your garden or plan to plant in the garden. The ASPCA has a wonderful website to refer to that lists plants, the toxicity, and what animal they are toxic to. Many people think of pets as just cats and dogs, but now with the use of therapy chickens and other animals, a pet could be any animal. Did you know the ASPCA also has a poison control center department for pet owners to call if they think that a pet was poisoned?

The toxic parts of a plant can vary, but the entire plant of some flowering plants is toxic. Azaleas, Caladium, Oleander and English Ivy are only a few of the toxic plants found in flower gardens. Any type of Lilly is toxic to cats. Garden vegetables including rhubarb leaves and potato shoots are considered poisonous so take precautions if you have any of those plants. Keeping our pets safe is a priority, so start with planting a pet-safe garden.