How Does Your Garden Grow?
Many plants have poisonous parts, be it roots, bulbs, corm, rhizomes, leaves, flowers or pollen. This includes common garden and house plants, so care should always be taken when chosing plants to have around the household, especially if puppies are involved. Cocoa garden mulch that contains theobramine which is also toxic for dogs and there have been reports of dogs becoming ill after ingesting it.
Pet insurers MORE TH>N surveyed 2,000 cat and dog owners in the UK and found that 8% of their pets had ingested poisonous plants or flowers. 43% needed urgent veterinary care and 15% died.
31% of owners do not know if they have poisonous plants in their homes and 80% of people do not know which wild flowers are poisonous for cats and dogs.
MORE TH>N is campaigning for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labelling if plants and seeds are harmful for cats and dogs. See our Campaigns section for details.
A few common garden plants are outlined below:
The above list is far from exhaustive. There are seasonal dangers to look out for, including when out walking. All bulbs are poisonous so care should be taken in the spring when bulbs appear (and autumn for the crocus) and autumn when they are being planted. Dogs may rub against plants and then ingest pollen of ingest plants in the summer when out and about. Autumn brings the dangers of fungi and acorns. Winter brings the danger of berries such as yew and holly.
It is possible to plant a dog-friendly garden. Poisonous plants can be placed out of reach in hanging baskets or fenced off. Dogs should always be supervised in the garden, also because of the dangers of theft. Be careful of berries, flowers and fruits that may drop and be eaten.
Classical mythology does have one happy tale to tell: Tyrian purple was made from the mucous of sea snails (muricidae), more commonly called murex. A huge amount was required to yield even a small amount of dye. Hercules is supposed to have discovered it – or rather, his dog did – after picking up murex on a beach and developing purple drool. One hopes that his dog survived the experience.