Are There Poisons in Your Yard?

Are There Poisons in Your Yard?

By Carol Stack

Each year many dogs die from ingesting poisons they found in the house, backyard, or neighborhood. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) the numbers are increasing. In some cases the increase is quite dramatic.

There are numerous plants and fertilizers that are poisonous. In fact, there is a very popular cocoa mulch that people like to use because it degrades into an organic fertilizer. It also lacks that strong, pungent smell found in regular fertilizer. It even has an attractive color and odor.

Unfortunately, it is a life-threatening poison for dogs that are attracted by the smell and often eat varying amounts. One dog in particular found a bag of it on the patio, got into it, and ate a large amount. The next day he suddenly had some seizures and collapsed dead.

The ASPCA highly recommends that anyone with a dog or any animal that might be tempted to eat this fertilizer not use it, especially if their dog is ever unsupervised in the yard.

Fertilizers are not the only things found in our yards that are poisonous for our dogs. There are some plants that we need to avoid if we want to keep our pets safe and healthy.

The following is a partial list of plants that can kill:

* Azalea/Rhododendron
* Oleander
* Castor Bean
* Cyclamen
* Yew
* Some mushrooms (always assume that an ingested mushroom is toxic and see your vet)

Plants that can cause liver, heart and/or kidney damage include:

* Lilies
* Tulips
* Marijuana
* Cycads (such as the Sago Palm)
* Kalanchoe
* Foxglove
* Rhubarb
* Shamrock
* Autumn Crocus
* Rosebay

If you think your pet has eaten a poisonous plant or fertilizer contact your vet immediately. If you don’t know if the plant is toxic to animals bring a sample to your local nursery.

Symptoms can very, and can even take hours or days to appear. The dog mentioned above seemed fine until the seizures started. The owner had no idea that the cocoa mulch was toxic.

The best way to prevent your pet from ingesting a poisonous plant is to dig up any toxic plant that is in your yard. There are so many beautiful plants available that are not poisonous that there is no need to have one around that could kill your pet.

It’s possible you could train your dog to leave the plant alone, but it’s really not worth the risk. Remove the Oleander, Sago Palms and Lilies from your yard and grow safe plants in their place.

When you put fertilizers, insecticides or herbicides on your lawn or in your garden make sure your dogs and cats do not go on the treated areas until the time listed by the manufacturer. If there is no time listed call the company who manufactured the product to find out.

Don’t use snail bait that contains metaldehyde, fly bait that contains methomyl, and mole or gopher bait where your dog or cat can get to it. Most forms of rat poisons are also toxic for pets.

Also, be sure to store any unused fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in an area that is not available to your pets. Dogs can easily tear into a bag of fertilizer, as that dog did with the cocoa mulch, and eat half the bag before anyone notices.

If you have any questions about poisons, or if you think your dog might have eaten something poisonous, contact your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Copyright 2006 Carol Stack

Carol Stack has been working with dogs for more than three decades. She lives with her husband, 3 kids, 4 dogs, 8 cats and one bird (Bob) in California. Carol and her daughter Christy have created a web site especially for dog lovers at:

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2 Responses

  1. Christopher Taylor
    | Reply

    i am looking for an organic rat poison coz i do not want to use synthetic ones;,.

  2. Shower Pump 
    | Reply

    rat poisons are chemical based that is also dangerous to your pets”*;

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