Is Your Garden Safe for Pets?

Gardening can be a wonderful way to relax and help your home look more appealing. Going out to buy new plants or seeds can be like taking a kid to a sweet shop, and you may find yourself unable to resist a wide selection of beautiful flowers or hardy plants. But did you know that many common garden plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, and that they could kill your pets or other people’s?

This may seem quite unimportant on the face of it, especially if you have pet insurance, but some plants can in fact cause a pet’s body to begin shutting down and by the time you notice symptoms, it may be too late to remedy the situation and you might already have to say goodbye to a beloved pet. If it isn’t your pet then you may feel it is not your problem, however obviously you don’t want to visit such heartbreak on other people, either.

Some of the plants which are toxic to pets are aloe, amaryllis, chrysanthemum, geranium, and hibiscus. Clearly, some of those are very common in British gardens and should therefore be carefully avoided. A good way to prevent yourself from planting anything toxic to pets is by googling for the name of the plant you’re looking into and “toxic to pets.” Remember, if you are planting a garden within reach of the road, that horses are sometimes ridden in the road and you may want to ensure nothing toxic to horses is grown there either.

If you already have toxic plants in your garden or simply have to have a nice bed of geraniums or a bunch of lilies, then there are steps you can take to prevent plant-related tragedy. Don’t rely on pets not to eat the plants, as you simply can’t reliably predict this behaviour; some pets will eat plants that can kill them within hours, or oils, pollen and similar excreta can come off onto the fur of a pet, to be licked later. In other words, you’ll need to take some precautions to prevent pets from coming into contact with toxic plants.

Fencing is available to make it difficult or impossible for pets to come into your garden and may be a nice idea regardless of what you decide to plant. Netting or fencing can also provide protection for individual flower beds, or you can elect to grow more dangerous plants in a small greenhouse.

No one wants their, or other people’s pets to die from ingestion or contact with the plants in their garden. With a bit of care you can ensure your garden is safe for your, and other people’s pets to dwell in – or simply inaccessible! Happy gardening!

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