Did you know many common garden plants and products can be poisonous or hazardous for dogs?

Gardens are the perfect place for dogs to exercise and have fun but even those that are fenced in can be potentially dangerous if common sense isn’t applied.

There are several popular garden plants and substances you should always protect your pet from. If you suspect your dog has eaten any of these, contact your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital straight away.

Remember, always try to take a sample of the dangerous item or substance, or a label containing its ingredients, to the vet. Some of the most common garden hazards for dogs are listed here:

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Compost

Compost is usually full of mouldy food and garden waste. Some of this can produce dangerous mycotoxins which are highly dangerous to dogs. Mycotoxicosis, which is poisoning by products contaminated by fungi, can be fatal. Dog owners should always keep compost out of reach and seek urgent veterinary advice if they suspect their dog has raided the compost bin.

Fertilisers

Fertilisers come in granular, solid and liquid form. While most aren’t hazardous, some can cause sickness and diarrhoea if swallowed or irritate your dog’s skin if brushed against. Products with additives such as insecticides are often the most dangerous.

Weed killer

Many weed killers contain glyphosate which can be dangerous if swallowed, licked or brushed against. Dogs who consume a significant enough amount may suffer breathing problems, heart rate issues and convulsions. If you plan to use weed killer, make sure your dog is safe inside to avoid any problems.

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Insecticides and pesticides

Insecticides and pesticides are typically used to get rid of ants, slugs, snails and other so-called garden pests. But many contain dangerous chemicals such as metaldehyde or disulfoton, which are both very toxic to dogs. Read the instructions carefully and don’t use if there’s a potential risk.

Lawn feed and moss killer

These products usually include fertilisers, weed killer or ferrous sulphate (iron) which kills moss. All of these have the potential to harm your dog’s skin or cause gastrointestinal problems. Those that contain iron may also cause iron poisoning.

Plants and bulbs

Several popular garden plants are poisonous to dogs but, often, it’s the bulbs that pose the biggest risk. For example, daffodil, lily and spring crocus bulbs are all highly toxic. Symptoms of plant or bulb poisoning can include vomiting, upset stomach and heart and kidney problems.

Fungi

While some mushrooms are edible, others are highly toxic, and it’s often difficult to tell which is which. Symptoms of eating poisonous fungi can vary dramatically but may include sickness, hallucinations and even kidney or liver failure.

Cocoa mulch

This contains theobromine — the same poisonous ingredient that’s in chocolate. It has similar properties to caffeine and can cause vomiting or diarrhoea and possibly muscle tremors, seizures and elevated heart rate. There have been several cases of dogs falling ill after eating cocoa mulch.

Stones from plums, cherries and other Prunus species

Believe it or not, the stones and pits of plums, cherries, apricots, and peaches contain cyanide. As a result, these are dangerous if crushed or broken before being eaten. The stems and leaves can also be toxic. It’s worth bearing mind larger stones can cause obstructions if swallowed whole.

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What to do if your pet has been poisoned?

Owners who suspect their dog has been poisoned should telephone their vet immediately or, out of hours, their nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic.

Vets Now is open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur. All of our out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.

Did you know corn on the cobs can be dangerous to dogs?