When planning and planting your yards and gardens, choose non-toxic plants.
We recently had a client request a list of which summer garden plants are ‘safe’ for dogs and cats. It’s a wonderful idea–one we would like to implement at some point in the future. However, putting together a list of “pet-friendly” plants will be a time consuming task, and as it is currently planting season for most people’s yards we want to point out some excellent resources currently available online.
If you have a dog or cat, particularly a young one, who spends time in your back yard, they are likely to occasionally graze on any plants you have in the yard. It’s extremely important to check your existing plantings and any new plants you are considering adding against one or more of these lists to make sure you aren’t unintentionally introducing a poisonous plant into your pet’s environment.
Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Resources
The ASPCA has a very good Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Database. You can view by scientific or common name, filter by species, and choose to see either a list of toxic plants, or the opposite, a list of non-toxic plants. They also have concise list of the seventeen most common poisonous garden plants.
They also have an app for iOS and Android that allows you to view lists and pictures of poisonous plants, foods, medications, winter and summer outdoor chemicals, and household chemicals. You can have the app with you while you’re at the garden centre and check any prospective purchases against it. Read more and download the app.
Other Garden Hazards
Remember that it’s not just the plants that may be hazardous to your pets, it’s also fertilizers and insecticides which may be highly toxic to pets. Always read the labels for proper usage instructions, keep your pets out of the yard for the appropriate wait times, and store these chemicals securely, away from pets and children.
Compost is also potentially hazardous. The mold in compost, and in particular mycotoxins that molds produce in compost are highly toxic to dogs. Read more about Mycotoxin Toxicity.
As well, be aware of potential hazards in mulch. Cocoa mulch is highly toxic to dogs, and should be completely avoided. Coloured mulches have been dyed, and the dyes used in this process are unregulated, and therefore their toxicity is unknown. Use natural mulches such as pine or cedar bark in your yard.