Plants and Pets – Tips for Spring Gardening

By VanEastVet, on Saturday, March 10th, 2018

With a gorgeous weekend to look forward to, a lot of people will be seizing this opportunity to get back into their gardens. Bulbs are coming back to life all over the city, and green buds are forming on everything that survived the winter. It seems we’re all ready for Spring to get here!

With this in mind, we’re going to put together some tips on keeping your gardens pet-friendly! This week – lets look at flowers.
There’s no better way to brighten up a garden path or a windowsill than with a burst of colour, and the aroma of fresh blooms in the air. But be cautious! Many common flowers can cause a variety or medical problems for your pets! Vomiting and diarrhea are some milder side effects caused by ingesting some plants, but others can cause organ failure, a loss of limb function, and even death if left untreated.
Some common culprits:
  • Geranium – Commonly grown in outdoor gardens, containers, and hanging baskets, the Pelargonium species is toxic for pets, causing skin rashes, low blood pressure, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
  • Dahlia – Eating this delicate petal may lead to gastrointestinal upset and dermatitis.
  • Poinsettia – There’s a reason for the phrase, “Beware of the poinsettia.” But, it’s not as toxic as we’ve been led to believe. However, it can cause irration of the mouth and stomach for kittens and puppies.
  • Iris – no matter the colour, ingesting irises could come at price for your pet. Symptoms include: mild to moderate vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and diarrhea.
  • Also be aware of  Forget-Me-NotsPeace LiliesColeusLavender, and Lenten Rose as these are all mildly toxic when ingested.
Less well-known:
  • Hydrangea – Summer and fall gifts us with these vibrant blooms, but if consumed in large quantities, the showy flowers can be poisonous to people and pets.
  • Aloe Vera – For humans, aloe vera works wonders for the skin and for burns. For dogs and cats, not so much. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
  • Daffodil and Jonquil – It’s a good thing that daffodils are too pretty to eat, because if your pets munch on the bulbs, it can cause cardiac issues, convulsions, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Lily – To put it simply, lilies are definitely not the cat’s meow. This popular fragrant bulb can cause kidney failure for cats. Oddly enough, lilies don’t seem to affect dogs in the same way.

Be especially wary of including the following in your gardening plans:

  • Lily of the Valley – We adore this shady flower, but it can produce serious symptoms in pets and people, including vomiting, heart arrythmias, seizures, and, ultimately, death.
  • Tulip – Eating the cup-shaped flower may lead to convulsions and cardiac problems.
  • Azaleas and Rhododendron – These bright and popular garden shrubs are not only dangerous for cats and dogs, but horses, goats, and sheep, too. If leaves are ingested by these animals, it can cause digestive problems, excessive drooling, weakness, and loss of appetite.
  • Wisteria – While these climbing growers are useful for sprucing up your landscaping and vertical space, they can also be toxic to dogs and cats, particularly since wisteria contains poisonous seeds and pods.
Keep in mind that if you do adore anything listed, plant with safety in mind and ensure your pet can’t get access to them! Invest in fence, window, or hanging planters to keep potentially harmful plants out of reach. If your pet does start having any skin or digestion issues come springtime? remember to tell your vet if you’ve been gardening! It might be your plant to blame but it could be your fertilizer, weed killer or potting mix. Always read your labels, and if unsure, ask the staff at your local gardening centre.
For a full list of harmful plants click here. This list was compiled and released by the ASPCA and if you’re a really dedicated green-thumb, it’s a great guide to a more expansive range of flowers and exotic plants.
Happy planting Vancouver! Next week we’ll be back with a list of DO’s for your garden, so check back soon.