Is Your Garden Dangerous For Your Pets?

Would you believe that a staggering 78% of British gardens contain plants that are toxic to cats and dogs?! And one in three pet owners admit that they have no idea if the plants and flowers in their garden are toxic to pets- until I read the information contained in More Th>n’s Pet Safe campaign, I was definitely one of them! Scarily, 71% of all pet owners can’t identify any of the symptoms of poisoning in their cat or dog.

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With four in every five household gardens containing toxic plants, it’s no surprise that almost 10% of cats and dogs have ingested poisonous plants or flowers. Of those, 43% subsequently needed urgent veterinary care, while 15% sadly passed away. Furthermore, according to More Th>n‘s research, the most dangerous gardens are to be found in London and the South East (83%), followed by Wales (80%), the South West (79%), East Anglia (78%) and the West Midlands (77%).

To kick start the launch of their new Pet Safe campaign to raise awareness of the issue of cats and dogs being poisoned by common household plants and flowers, More Th>n have commissioned RHS Gold Medal winner, Ian Drummond, to create the world’s most dangerous garden to cats and dogs. Launched at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London at the start of June, the garden will be taken to different locations throughout the capital by the charity Core Landscapes. The scheme is also strongly supported by Charlie Dimmock.

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Far from being rare and exotic flowers, all of the plants and flowers on show can be found in many homes, public parks, or horticultural centres in Britain. A full list of all of the plants that are dangerous to our furry friends can be found later in the article. According to the vet who was consultant on the garden, Robert White-Adams, “As a nation of animal lovers, we’ll do anything to not put our pets at harm. What this campaign reveals is the hidden dangers that many of us wouldn’t even be aware of. Each plant has been chosen to show just how many common varieties can make our pets ill, or worse still, die if not treated immediately by a vet”.

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In addition to raising general awareness of this issue, More Th>n is directly campaigning for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products, and retailers to provide clearer labelling to help pet owners to easily identify whether items are safe or harmful for their furry companions- something that 86% of cat and dog owners would like to see. For more information on the campaign petition, click here.

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John Ellenger, Head of Pet Insurance at More Th>n, commented, “The More Th>n Pet Safe Campaign allows us to raise awareness of the dangers of plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs in an imaginative and memorable way. However, our new campaign is also about taking direct and immediate action- by both urging suppliers and retailers of garden plants and flowers to provide clear “pet safe” labelling, while also better educating pet owners on the issue. Through this campaign we’ll be arming pet owners with the practical advice and information they need to identify safe and dangerous plants, to recognise the symptoms of poisoning- and what to do in that eventuality- and above all to reduce the likelihood of their beloved pets becoming ill in the first place”.

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As promised, here is the full list of common toxic plants to avoid in the garden:

PLANT NAME POISONOUS FOR CATS POISONOUS FOR DOGS
ALOE VERA
AMARYLLIS (BULBS)
ANGELS TRUMPET (BRUGMANSIA)
APPLE (SEEDS)
APRICOTS (KERNELS)
ASPARAGUS FERN
AVOCADO (FRUIT, PITH, LEAVES)
AZALEA (ALL PARTS) Rare
BABY’S BREATH
BEGONIA
BIRD OF PARADISE (PODS)
BISHOP’S WEED
BLEEDING HEART (DICENTRA FORMOSA)
BLUEBELL
BUXUS / BOX (ALL PARTS, MOSTLY LEAVES)
CARNATION
CLEMATIS (ALL PARTS)
CORDYLINE (GRASS PALM)
CROCUS (ALL)
CHRYSANTHEMUM (ALL PARTS)
CYCLAMEN (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS, STEMS)
DAFFODIL (ALL PARTS)
DAISY
DAHLIA
DAPHNE (BERRIES, BARK, LEAVES)
DEADLY NIGHTSHADE
DELPHINIUM (ALL PARTS ESPECIALLY THE SPROUTS)
ELEPHANTS EARS (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
ELDERBERRY (LEAVES, BARK, ROOTS AND BUDS)
EUCALYPTUS (ALL PARTS)
FOXGLOVE / DIGITALIS (LEAVES, STEMS, FLOWERS, SEEDS)
GARLIC
GARDENIA
GERANIUM (ALL PARTS)
GLADIOLA (BULBS)
GRAPE PLANT/VINE N/a
HELLEBORE
HIBISCUS
HOLLY (LEAVES, BERRIES & STEMS) Rare
HOSTA Rare
HYACINTH (BULBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS)
HYDRANGEA (ALL PARTS)
IRIS (BULBS)
IVY (ALL SPECIES – LEAVES, BERRIES) Rare
JAPANESE YEW (NEEDLES, SEEDS, BARK) Rare
LABURNUM (LEAVES AND SEEDS)
LARKSPUR (ALL PARTS)
LILLIES (ALL PARTS) N/a
LIME
LILY OF THE VALLEY (ALL PARTS)
LEOPARD LILY N/a
LOBELIA
LUPIN (ALL PARTS) Rare Rare
MALLOW
MARIGOLD (NEW LEAVES, STEMS)
MISTLETOE
MONKSHOOD/ ACONITE (ROOTS, FOLIAGE, SEEDS)
MORNING GLORY (ALL PARTS)
NARCISSUS (ALL PARTS) (DAFFODIL)
OAK – ACORNS (ALL PARTS)
OLEANDER (ALL PARTS)
ONION (ALL PARTS)
PERIWINKLE (ALL PARTS)
PEONY (FOLIAGE, FLOWERS)
PHILODENDRON (LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS)
PINKS
POINSETTIA
PRIMROSE (ALL PARTS)
PRIVET
PRUNUS ROTUNDIFOLIA LAUREL
POPPY (ALL PARTS)
POTATO (SPROUTS, VINES, UNRIPE TUBERS) N/a
PRIVET
RANUNCULUS  (BUTTERCUP)  ✔
RAGWORT (ALL PARTS ABOVE GROUND)  ✔  ✔
RHODODENDRON (LEAVES)
RHUBARB LEAVES
SNOWDROPS (ALL PARTS)
SWEET PEA (ALL PARTS)
SWEET WILLIAM
TOBACCO PLANT
TOMATO PLANT (FOLIAGE, VINES, GREEN FRUIT)
TULIP (BULBS)
VERBENA (FOLIAGE AND FLOWERS)
WEEPING FIG (INDIAN RUBBER)
WILD CHERRY TREE
WISTERIA (SEEDS AND PODS)
YARROW
YEW
YUCCA

Don’t forget, it’s not just plants and flowers you need to consider when planning a safe garden for your cat or dog, the following can also prove hazardous:

  • Acorns and conkers- toxic if eaten
  • Algae- toxic freshwater algae (usually blue-green in colour, but sometimes colourless) has been known to poison animals
  • Bee & wasp stings- These can be especially problematic if they sting inside the mouth
  • Cocoa mulch- made from cocoa bean shell, a by-product of the chocolate industry, like chocolate this can be harmful if eaten by dogs
  • Fertiliser, insecticides and pesticides- if consumed, fertiliser can give your cat or dog a stomach upset, and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Read instructions carefully, and make sure you allow an appropriate time from use before allowing your animal in the garden.
  • Garden tools- this should be obvious, I mean, you wouldn’t leave garden tools laying around if you had a baby in the garden, so why would you do it for your dog or cat to hurt themselves on?

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The general symptoms of poisoning can be found below, however, you should contact your vet IMMEDIATELY if you think your pet has eaten any toxic plants, flowers, or in fact ANY toxic items or substances. Take along samples of the plant(s) to the vet, or even better, any identification label, tag or pot information you may still have for the plant that has been eaten.

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General symptoms of poisoning:

  • Oral or skin irritation
  • Upset stomach/ vomiting/ diarrhoea
  • Weakness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Coma
  • Heart failure
  • Excitability or lethargy
  • Tremors/ seizures/ fitting
  • Increased thirst
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness/ loss of balance
  • Disorientation

You can also win some pet safe seeds by visiting More Th>n on Twitter or Facebook

*Disclosure- I will receive some pet safe seeds in exchange for my article

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