7 Backyard Toxins for Pets

7 Backyard Toxins for Pets

Spring has officially arrived, and as many of us work to prepare our backyards for renewal, we’re likely using various products to aid in our efforts. The problem? Many items used to beautify the backyard can be toxic to our furry family members. Here are seven of the most common offenders:

THE TOXIN: Cocoa Mulch

Ever tempted to eat your…mulch? Probably not, but your pup could be. Made of discarded cocoa bean shells, cocoa mulch has a tempting chocolate-like smell that can attract dogs. A byproduct of chocolate production, the cocoa bean shells can contain theobromine and caffeine, the two ingredients in chocolate that are dangerous to dogs.

THE SIGNS:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased heart rate or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Seizures

THE TOXIN: Meal-based fertilizers

While many fertilizers won’t harm your pets, the meal-based varieties contain bone meal, blood meal, or feather meal. They can be tempting for dogs and can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract or inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

THE SIGNS:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal discomfort or distention
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness

 

THE TOXIN: Fertilizers with iron

Iron is commonly added to fertilizers. Like meal-based fertilizers, those containing iron can seem like a tasty treat to a dog, but if your pup ingests too much iron, he could experience iron poisoning.

THE SIGNS:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, possibly containing blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Shock

THE TOXIN: Rose and plant fertilizers

Rose and plant fertilizers often contain organophosphorus insecticides—a common one is disulfoton—that can be highly toxic—even fatal— to pets.

THE SIGNS:

  • Increased salivation
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Lacrimation (increased tear production)
  • Increased urination

 

THE TOXIN: Slug and snail baits

Slugs and snails can do serious damage to garden foliage, but the baits used to get rid of them can do damage to our pets. Whether you’re using the pellet, granular, powder, or liquid form, the active ingredient in slug and snail baits is often metaldehyde, which is toxic to all species, especially dogs.

THE SIGNS:

  • Salivation
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Hyperthermia

THE TOXIN: Compost

Composting: It’s great for the environment, but the compost pile is not so great for curious pets. Your compost pile consists of decomposing and decaying organic matter. It will likely become moldy and can contain tremorgenic myotoxins, which are toxic to animals, even in small amounts. Be sure your compost pile never contains meat or dairy products, and always keep it securely fenced so your pet can’t access it.

THE SIGNS:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Agitation
  • Hyperthermia
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

THE TOXIN: Certain plants and flowers

Having a beautiful, color-filled yard could lead to problems for our pets. Here are few plants of particular concern:

Lily — While some lilies only cause minor signs of toxicity, true lilies can be fatal when ingested by pets. Watch out for the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show varieties, which can cause complete kidney failure when any part of the plant (even the pollen) is consumed.

 

Lily of the Valley — This flowering plant contains sugars that affect how the heart contracts.

 

Daffodil — These flowers contain lycorine, a compound toxic to pets.

 

Tulip and hyacinth — Although the entire plant can be toxic to pets, the chemical compounds of concern (allergenic lactones and alkaloids) are more concentrated in the bulbs.

 

Chrysanthemum — Ingestion of this flower (including daisies) can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and affect the nervous system.

 

Rhododendron — While the entire rhododendron plant is toxic, the leaves contain the highest concentration of the toxic resins, called grayanotoxins.

 

Crocus — Ingestion of either type (one blooms in the spring and one blooms in the fall) of this plant can cause multiple health issues for pets, including gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.

 

Cyclamen — Consumption of this plant can destroy red blood cells.

 

Questions about other plants? Check out this list of toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA or call our office.

THE SIGNS:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased or decreased heart rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling or increased salivation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

 

If you think your pet has consumed a toxin, call our office at 757-564-9815 immediately. The earlier appropriate treatment is begun, the better your pet’s chances of a complete recovery.

2018-04-25T18:37:26+00:00 April 25th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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