The furbabies enjoyed the taste of spring in Virgina this past weekend, following the sunny spots all over the living room. Just like me, I know they are chomping at the bit for lazy weekend days spent lounging outside. The warm sunshine and springtime temps have me thinking about my garden – where and what I might like to plant this year. Did you know certain plants, flowers and even mulch can be toxic to your dogs and make them sick if ingested? Below are some tips for making your spring garden as safe as possible for your dogs this year.
1. Read labels on all chemicals used
A lot of pesticides and herbacides have chemicals that can be harmful to your pooch if ingested. And while most might cause just minor stomach upset, you can never be too careful. Before you buy, read the fine details on potential irritants and usage around your pets.
2. Consider going organic…but know your stuff
Organic planting is good for you and for the environment. Certain chemicals in herbicides and pesticides can make your dog sick. And while composting is a great addition to your garden’s soil, you need to be careful of its contents. Coffee grounds, certain fruits and vegetables, and moldy food items are harmful to your dog. Keep these items separate and out of your compost mix just to be safe.
3. Do your research on non-toxic plants and flowers
It’s impossible to know offhand all flowers and plants that could be toxic to your pets, causing anything from a gastrointestinal upset to an emergency trip to your vet. Before planting each spring, I check out this list on the ASPCA website. They have a printable version of both toxic and non-toxic plants and flowers for dogs, cats and horses.
4. Watch the type of mulch you use
While you might be aware of the above and are always extra vigilent come planting season, mulch is another aspect of your garden you need to be extra careful with around your dog. Did you know cocoa mulch, if ingested by your pet, can cause restlessness, tremors and seizures? It’s very popular in gardens, and our own HOA uses it in their landscaping around our homes. It’s sweet smell can be attractive to your dogs and cause serious problems if consumed. Cedar chips and straw, while less attractive in front of your home, are better choices and less toxic.
5. Use a fence or plant out of reach from your dog
Even if you do all of the above dogs are curious creatures and might end up digging through your flower bed, sampling on any goodies they find, despite your attempts to keep a dog friendly garden. Put up a fence to keep dogs away from your garden. This way, you don’t have to worry about your furbaby ingesting something that could make him or her sick. If a fence isn’t an option, plant out of their reach. I place all flowers and plants that might look attractive to my curious pups on high plant stands or in flower boxes well out of their reach.
What are your favorite pet-safe flowers and plants to grow in the spring?