Being outdoors with our cats and dogs is always a pleasure. Keeping our pets safe and out of trouble should be a top priority.

There are many plants or plant parts that are toxic. While some can be fatal, most can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures or coma. Puppies are particularly vulnerable because they like to ingest both indoor and outdoor plants. Members of the rhododendron family including azalea, milkweeds, and foxglove contain cardiac glycosides of the digitalis class. These can cause illness or even death if enough is ingested. Caladiums, elephant ears and philodendrons contain oxalic acid which can cause mouth swelling, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal upset. Tomato vines, spinach, and rhubarb can have varied toxic effects. Onions both cooked and raw can be fatal to dogs.

Since pets are closer to the ground, be mindful of pesticides and herbicides. Exposure to certain herbicides and pesticides can increase the incidence of bladder cancer and lymphoma. Check the labels carefully.

Even organic fertilizer can be a threat. Bone meal and blood meal are very attractive to dogs. Ingesting even a cup of these can result in vomiting, bloating and gastrointestinal blockage. Bone meal can form a cement like ball in the stomach that is difficult to digest and can be life threatening.

Be mindful of the potential dangers to our four footed friends and you will enjoy many hours of fun without emergency trips to the vet.

Jeanette Ross, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Other Landscape Tips