COLUMN: Gardens can be a dangerous place for four-legged friends

It’s that time of the year when we are all getting back into our gardens and enjoying the weather.

 
But for our four-legged friends gardens can be a dangerous place. When selecting plants for your garden you should consider whether they could be poisonous to our pets.

 
Don’t forget to read the labels on the plants to see if they may be toxic to animals, however, not all labels state this.
It’s not just plants that may be toxic but things like slug pellets, ant powder, insecticides, herbicides, some lawn dressings and the like.

 
Also most people are unaware that cocoa mulch is toxic to animals – this should not be confused with coconut coir which, although not toxic to animals, is heavily water retaining and if ingested can swell in the gut and may block the intestines.
Now that it’s warming up slugs and snails abound in the garden.

 
They also present a health risk as they can cause lungworm which can cause serious health problems and may even be fatal.

 
There is a preventative treatment available from your vets to protect against lungworm, however, this is not part of the standard immunisation and you will have to ask for this separately.

 
The Pets Trust has a list of potential toxic plants to animals and can be found online.

 
However, here are a few that we would recommend avoiding: oleander, pieris, lily of the valley, sweet peas, castor oil plants.

 
If you believe that your dog or cat has digested anything toxic, ring your vet and/or take it to your vet as soon as possible, taking a sample of the plant that you believe was eaten. That will be useful if you do not know the name of the plant.

 
If caught early enough an antidote may be available to be given to nullify the toxin, however, time is of the essence.

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