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Toxic Gardens: Prevent Pet PoisioningsToxic Gardens: Prevent Pet Poisionings

It's winter here in Texas, so most of us won't be planting any new plants, but many of us are now bringing our plants indoors to prevent them from freezing.

There are a variety of pet-health hazards related to gardening. Plants, flowers, mulches, peticides, and plant foods can all be harmful to your pets, so you need to excercise extreme caution.

  • Toxic plants: Please do not rely on myths or the opinions of staff at nurseries to select your pet-safe plants. There are common misconceptions about what is an is not toxic to your animals, so please confirm that your choices are pet-safe by visiting the ASPCA Poision Control Center's Toxic Plant Database first. If your pet injests a toxic plant they could have a variety of symptoms and could even die, so please do not take any chances.
  • Toxic Mulches: Many of you may have received an email warning you of the toxicity of cocoa mulches. This is true, many cocoa mulches contain theobromine, a toxic substance found in chocolate and cocoa. However, many of the modern cocoa mulches are pet-safe and have bene thoroughly cleaned to remove theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to your pets. Make sure that whatever mulches you chose for your yard are 100% pet safe, even if that means doing a little extra research. 
  • Toxic Chemicals: Many pesticides are actually attractive to pets and just as toxic to them as the pests you are trying to eliminiate. Consider using organic practices or ensure that you use only pet-safe chemicals on any plants that your pets come into contact with.

Even if you don't think your pet will chew on or mess with your plants, you can never be too careful!