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Pet Parent Tips

What toxins are in your garden?

Gardens can be a messiah of beauty and peace in your yard, but could poise trouble for your four legged family member.

Everything from fertilizers to pesticides to poisonous plants can pose a problem for pets if exposed to or ingested. As garden season peaks, here are some of the most toxic elements of which to steer clear.

Chemicals & Compost

Out of all the chemicals we use in our gardens, rat poison and slug bait are two of the most harmful substances your pet can ingest. While rat poison is well-known as toxic to all animals, slug bait may come as a surprise. It contains a compound called metaldehyde, which causes slugs to “dry up.” If a cat or dog ingests the poison (or a slug that has recently eaten the poison), it can lead to tremors, increased body temperature, kidney failure, and death. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten either poisons, you have about an hour to get to an emergency vet to induce vomiting in your pet. If you’re a pet parent, it would be best to skip these insecticides and pesticides and research more biodynamic, pet-friendly ways to keep your garden blooming; many of our pet parents recommend cups of beer!

  • Fertilizers of all sorts can also be a problem; if a large amount is eaten (and the odor can sometimes be attractive to pets), it can cause vomiting in both cats and dogs, diarrhea, and pancreatitis. If you use fertilizers, it’s best to keep your pets away from treated areas until they are dry or rinsed into the lawn.

  • Rooting through and eating compost has its own set of problems: it may contain poisonous food scraps, in addition to a specific toxin that occurs organically when food begins to break down. If you find your pet suddenly panting, drooling, and vomiting, get to the vet. Also, avoid dairy and meat products in your compost, and fence off the area so a furry friend can’t get

Toxic Plants

Dealing with a pet that has been poisoned by a plant can be a scary situation. Who do I call? What do I do? How could I have prevented this? To help you on that last one, here is a list of some of the most common poisonous plants to dogs.

  • Sago palm

  • Buttercups

  • Poison hemlock

  • Lilies

  • Daffodils

  • Narcissus

  • Nightshade

  • Holly

  • Common flowers such as amaryllis, azaleas, begonias, chrysanthemums, and daisies Succulents (aloe and jade)Veggies like tomatoes, rhubarb, garlic, or onions

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of poisoning include hemorrhaging, seizures, tremors, drooling, and vomiting. Most vets recommend getting to an emergency veterinarian hospital within the first hour of exposure to fully treat and even save your pet’s life.


Know what’s growing in your garden and if it’s toxic, either pull it or fence it out of your pet’s way. While pesticides and herbicides are fairly common toxic ingredients, checking on what’s growing, what the weeds are, and keeping tabs on possible “problem plants” requires diligence and a bit of research, but the safety of your pet is priceless.

Accidental ingestion of poisonous plants and chemicals can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000 and up depending on the treatment, and can be extremely stressful for your pet. Healthy Paws covers these accidental poisonings from the diagnostic testing to treatment to follow-up. Learn more about how our dog and cat insurance plans can help you focus on the health of your pet and get your free quote today.

Disclaimer: Pet Insurance is not sold directly through AJM Associates, Inc.  The Pet Insurance is sold through Healthy Paws and can be purchased by clicking on the provided link(s), which will direct you to the Healthy Paws website.  Quotes, Claims, Questions and Services for your Pet are administered through Healthy Paws.

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