by M. Kathleen Shaw, DVM Chair of the VVMA’s Media Relations Committee
Many people are beginning to realize the dangers of landscaping items such as cocoa mulch and stainless steel edging but there are many more potential dangers for pets when you start your springtime lawn and garden care.
While flowers are colorful and fragrant, there are several that are toxic to pets. Daffodils can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and potential respiratory distress in dogs and cats. Lilies are deadly to cats and Autumn Crocuses can cause severe illness and death a few days after ingestion.
Most pesticides and insecticides usually cause only mild irritation to your pet when ingested. The concentrated forms are the ones that can really make your pet ill. Fertilizers such as bone or blood meal may help your flowers grow, but to most dogs, they are very tasty and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and gastric obstruction. Rose fertilizers may contain disulfoton and as little as one teaspoon of this can kill a 55-pound dog. Fertilizers applied to your lawn are reasonably safe when applied correctly. In general keep the pets off the lawn until the liquid is dry or the granules have been wetted.
Whenever you’re working in your lawn and garden, be sure to keep any containers of lawn care products out of pets’ reach. Save labels or containers in case your pet does eat something. This will help your veterinarian find the right treatment for your pet. If you are concerned with the potential toxicity of something your pet ingests, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 or visit www.petpoisonhelpline.com. To learn which plants are toxic to your pets, go to www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/spring.