HOW TO PET-PROOF THE GARDEN
We’re starting to use our gardens more again, but did you know that certain environments pose a risk to animals? PDSA vet nurse Nina Downing (pdsa.org.uk) says: ‘A little bit of research can prevent problems for your pet, worry for you and an unexpected vet bill. There’s no reason why you can’t have a great-looking garden that’s also safe for your pet to enjoy.’
WHAT TO AVOID
★ Daffodils – even vase water can make a pet ill.
★ Laburnum – the flowers, bark and twigs can all make your dog ill.
★ Alliums – leeks, spring onions and wild garlic.
★ Bluebells – all parts are poisonous to dogs if eaten in large amounts.
★ Lilies – all parts of the lily plant are highly toxic to cats, even if they only lick the tiniest bit of pollen off their fur.
★ Rhododendrons – all parts are toxic.
★ What about rabbits?
Dr Jessica May from FirstVet (firstvet.com/uk) explains ‘any plant that grows from a bulb can be toxic. Examples include snowdrops, bluebells, tulips, buttercups, daffodils and lilies. Be careful with grass clippings, as cut grass starts to ferment, which can make it poisonous. When mowing, dispose of clippings where rabbits can’t reach them.’
★ Compost – as organic matter decomposes, it releases mycotoxins which can cause vomiting and seizures if an animal accidentally eats some. If you use it, store it out of reach of pets.
★ Weed killer – some contain chemicals like borax or arsenic, poisonous to pets. If you’re in doubt, ask a vet for advice before use.
★ Fertiliser – insecticides and fungicides found in them are often poisonous to animals. Some may even be fatal if consumed in large quantities, so it’s safest to keep your garden fertiliser-free.
Signs of poisoning to look out for…
‘Signs vary depending on the type of plant,’ explains Nina. Always seek a vet’s help if your pet shows signs of vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, drowsiness, shaking or fitting.
The Horticultural Trade Association has a code of practice most garden centres follow. Look for it on labels; A – poisonous, B – toxic if eaten; and C – harmful if eaten. Avoid plants in these categories for a pet-friendly garden.
These get the green light:
★ Crocuses (except Autumn versions, which can be toxic) ★ African daisies ★ Marigolds ★ Sunflowers and snapdragons get the paws-up from cats