Garden plants kill dogs or cats and cause “coma and death from cardiovascular collapse”

A woman holding a dog and a plant

Mark Lane has issued a stark warning about plants in your garden that could kill animals (Image: GETTY)

As I write, my partner and I are discussing getting a puppy or a rescue dog, as we spend a lot of time outdoors; however, I love my garden and my plants, especially since we just moved and have a blank canvas to work on, and the idea of ​​a four legged demon crushing my flowers, yellowing my lawn or finding “gigantic” piles of dirt and holes that seem to last forever makes me a little nervous.

I grew up with dogs, especially Labradors, and for many years my partner and I had two long-haired Persian cats, but they were mostly indoor cats. I think I’m going to have to give in and avoid divorce and, like so many gardeners who also have cats and dogs, redesign our outdoor spaces to be pet friendly.

We are a nation that loves our pets, but when it comes to gardening, certain plants should be avoided as they can be toxic to cats and dogs, in particular. Yet, if you have a pet-friendly garden and you love your plants and flowers, how can you keep little or big paws from crushing your precious flowers or tasty vegetables?

When it comes to plants, it’s not just the foliage, flowers, and stems that you see above ground. Many flower bulbs, such as fall crocus, cyclamen, tulip, daffodil, all of which can be planted now, and any member of the Liliaceae family, can cause serious symptoms such as gastrointestinal irritation , loss of appetite or, in extreme conditions, seizures in your pet.

If you like these plants, I recommend growing them in pots and containers that your dog or cat can’t get to. You can place chicken wire on top of a container so your pet can’t dig them up – this will also stop determined squirrels.

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A yawning cat

Azaleas and rhododendrons contain grayantoxins which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and death (Image: GETTY)


Daisies and chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins which lead to gastrointestinal problems (Image: GETTY)

Azaleas and rhododendrons contain grayantoxins which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and, in severe cases, coma and death from cardiovascular collapse. Yew or Taxus spp. contain taxines which cause tremors, loss of coordination and breathing difficulties.

Compound plants, such as daisies and chrysanthemums, contain pyrethrins which cause gastrointestinal problems and vomiting. Even English ivy, Hedera helix, contains triterpenoid saponins that cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Avoid other poisonous plants such as foxglove, delphinium, tomato and wisteria. The Dogs Trust has a handy PDF that lists all the common garden plants and houseplants with details on what to look for. You can find it here. Cats Protection also has great advice on what to do if you think your cat has been poisoned.

It’s not all pessimistic, however. There are still plenty of indoor and outdoor plants you can grow without fear of thinking or experiencing the worst. However, we can’t watch our pets 24 hours a day and if they want to bite something or dig it up because they think it’s fun, it’s always best to check the published lists, follow the advice and to select safe plants.

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As for indoor plants, you can grow the following plants: Calathea lancifola (rattlesnake plant); Chlorophytum comosum (spider plant); Streptocarpus sect. Saintpaulia (African violet); Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston fern); Phalaenopsis sp. (moth orchids) and Phoenix canariensis (date palm).

Bedding plants such as nasturtium, nemesia, petunia and pansies are safe for dogs and cats. All rose forms are also safe for pets, as is Nepeta sp. (catnip) and Valerian sp. that cats particularly like to sniff and sometimes roll over.

The scent of catnip, lavender, and hardy geraniums may excite your pets, but they won’t harm them. If you planted a new border, consider placing a small temporary chicken wire fence around the area until the plants are large enough to fend for themselves. Of course putting up such a fence will be of considerable benefit to your pets and no matter how many times you yell “get down” or “go away” if they are determined they will find a way in. .

Gardens should be stimulating and fun places for us and our pets. Some pets don’t like the feel of wet surfaces such as lawns and walkways and will often follow paths just like us. Our longhaired Persian cats went out with us, but they still stayed on the dry trails.

So make sure you’ve cleared tough areas like patios and walkways and line them with sturdy plants. When it comes to planting, it makes sense to put in tall plants from the start, such as shrubs and established perennials that won’t mind being trampled or nibbled on, will bounce back quickly, or might even deter. If you are planting small seedlings or young plants, you can always place prickly rose cuttings between the plants to help stop wandering legs.

A dog chewing daisies

There are still many indoor plants and outdoor plants that you can grow without fear. (Image: GETTY)

Raised beds are great because you can raise the planting to a workable height and maybe make the beds high enough that your pets won’t notice the plants (well, it’s worth a try ).

Safety and security are essential, especially when you have pets. Make sure gates and fences are securely fastened, have a secure latch or lock, and maybe consider adding a line of chicken wire along the bottom, bent at ninety degrees and buried under the ground to help prevent dogs from digging under the fence and trying to escape. Perimeter fences should be 6 feet high because most dogs can’t jump that high.

Spaces under doors should be blocked off with a planter attached to the front or back of the door or screen, as mentioned above. You can purchase perimeter fence systems with a receiver in a collar that will beep or give a small shock. The idea is that your pet will find this uncomfortable and will come back to you. Personally, I think it’s best to create a safe space using pet-friendly plants, wire fences, and tall fences. I want our new pup (see I’m almost giving in) to enjoy the space, explore and maybe dig up a plant or two!

We need to live alongside our pets, and if you’re worried about the plants in your garden, check out the links above or search online. It can get a little confusing, but by cross-checking, you’ll find the pet-friendly plants that you and your pets can enjoy for years to come.