Preparing Your Yard for Your Pet

When preparing your garden for spring blossoms this year, keep in mind that gardens can pose a number of poisoning hazards for your pets. Pet Poison Helpline offers the following advice on what to keep away from your pets.

Garden Poisons

Pest traps for rodents, snails and slugs are extremely toxic to pets when ingested. Without immediate veterinary attention, they can be fatal. Rodenticides, or mouse or rat poison, can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling or kidney failure, depending on which type is used, while snail and slug traps can result in severe tremors or seizures.

Insecticides

Most over-the-counter insecticides are basic gastrointestinal irritants to pets and are generally not cause for major concern. However, you should still bring your pet to a veterinarian or call Pet Poison Helpline to ensure your pet’s safety, particularly if your pet develops any symptoms at all!

Blood Meal

Many pets are attracted to the taste of this organic fertilizer and if a large amount is ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and severe inflammation of the pancreas.

Fertilizers

Many fertilizers are basic gastrointestinal irritants. Some are combined with dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful to pets. Ingestion can result in drooling, watery eyes, unusual urination or defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, fever and even death. Bring your pet immediately to a veterinarian for treatment with an antidote. As with all poisons, the sooner the toxicity is treated, the better outcome for your pet.

Poisonous Plants

The following is the list of the most poisonous plants to pets when ingested.
  • Autumn Crocus: While both Spring Crocus and Autumn Crocus can cause adverse reactions, the Autumn Crocus can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damages and respiratory failure.
  • Azalea: Eating even a few azalea leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. With severe, ingestions, if the pet is not treated immediately, he or she can fall into a coma or possibly die.
  • Cyclamen: This seasonal flowering plant can cause severe vomiting.
  • Daffodil: The bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. More serious reactions include abnormal heart rate or changes in respiration.
  • Dieffenbachia: A popular indoor houseplant, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  • Hyacinth & Tulip: All parts of these spring plants can cause adverse reactions, but toxins are most concentrated in the bulb. Bulbs can affect breathing and cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and an increased heart rate.
  • Kalanchoe: This plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea and an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias).
  • Lily: Certain types of lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney failure with just a few petals or leaves. See a veterinarian immediately if you cat ingests any part of a lily, particularly an Easter, Day, Asiatic, Tiger or Japanese Show lily.
  • Oleander: The leaves and flowers of Oleanders are extremely toxic and can cause severe vomiting, an abnormal heart rate and possibly death.
  • Sago Palm: This plant, commonly found in subtropical regions in warm locations, is extremely dangerous to dogs. All parts of this plant—including the seeds or nuts—can cause symptoms, such as vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death.

For a more complete list of non pet-friendly plants, visit the Pet Poison Helpline’s website.

Compost

Make sure that your compost does not contain any dairy or meat products, and it should always be fenced off against pets and wildlife. Compost piles have the potential to contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause symptoms even when ingested in small amounts. These symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hyper-responsiveness
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting

It can also affect the central nervous system through incoordination, tremors or seizures. Keep in mind that other toxins can cause similar symptoms, such as metaldehydes in snail pesticides, strychnine, organophosphates in fertilizers and methylxanthines in chocolates. Prompt decontamination and treatment is necessary for any of these toxins.

Mushrooms

There are various types of mushrooms that may be non-toxic, but there are several kinds that can cause mild to severe symptoms, including death. Some mushrooms are gastrointestinal irritants, while others may be hallucinogenic or result in severe, acute liver failure.

As it’s very difficult to identify poisonous versus non-poisonous mushrooms, it’s always important to treat any type of mushroom ingestion as toxic. If possible, bring a sample of the mushroom to your veterinarian if you believe your pet is suffering from mushroom poisoning; they may be able to submit this for analysis. Bring your pet in immediately to a veterinarian if you have any concerns regarding mushroom toxicity, even if your pet has not yet exhibited symptoms.

If Your Pet is Poisoned

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, it is best to immediately take your pet to your Banfield veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian. In the event that you are unable to do that, you can contact Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 for initial information about the potential toxin your pet may have been exposed to.

Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helpline’s fee of $35 per incident includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. You can also find additional information on poisonings at www.petpoisonhelpline.com.