Keeping Your Pets Safe from Common Poisons

Posted on: 21 April 2016

After a cold and dark winter, many people are eager to get outside to their garden. However, they should be mindful of potential dangers to their pets when deciding which plants to add and what types of chemicals to use in their gardening.

Many popular plants and commonly used chemical compounds are poisonous to pets, and even when consumed in small quantities they can cause severe illness or death.

Poisonous spring plants

  • Tulips: They contain the toxins tulipalin A and B, which may cause gastrointestinal distress and other reactions in pets.
  • Hyacinths: These flowers contain specific alkaloids that may produce vomiting and diarrhea, possibly with blood, as well as depression.
  • Azaleas: They contain grayanotoxin, which can cause nerve and muscle damage, leading to possible death.
  • Lilies: Some kinds of lilies are poisonous to cats in particular. Not only the flowers, but also the stems, leaves, and even the pollen are poisounous. Lilies that are cut from the garden and placed in a vase may poison a cat if the animal drinks from the water in the vase.

Flower bulbs tend to have higher concentrations of toxic substances than fully grown plants, so careful attention should be given to keeping bags of bulbs away from your animals and to watching that dogs don't dig up recently planted bulbs.

Pest control products

Rodent poison

Usually sold in the form of small pellets, these poisons may be visually appealing to pets. Poisoning can also occur indirectly if a pet eats a dead or dying rodent that has succumbed to poisoning. Rodents may also carry the pellets into your garden from other yards.

Rodent poisons contain anticoagulants that cause controlled bleeding, so if your pet shows signs of extreme weakness or blood in feces or vomit or exhibits nosebleeds or bleeding gums, you must rush it to the nearest animal hospital for treatment.

Keeping rats from your property requires vigilance in removing all sources of accessible food, including spilled bird seed from hanging seed dispensers.

Snail bait

Snail and slug baits contain metaldyhyde, which may be fatal if your pet cannot be treated quickly after ingestion. Symptoms include tremors, convulsions, lack of muscle control, and excessive drooling and panting.

Fruits and vegetables

  • Grapes: Dogs can experience kidney problems or complete renal failure from eating grapes.
  • Onions: Onions can be toxic to dogs and cats, causing destruction of red blood cells in the body.
  • Rhubarb: Eating the leaves and stems of rhubarb plants can cause a drop in calcium levels in dogs and cats that is significant enough to cause renal failure.
  • Cherries: It's not the sweet flesh of the cherries, but the pits, which contain cyanide, that may prove fatal to a dog or cat.

Mindfulness is the key to planning your garden while keeping your pets safe. Contact an establishment like the Centennial Animal Hospital for more information or for an emergency situation.