Protect Your Pets from Summer Landscaping


From flowers to landscaping rocks,  Fido the dog and Fluffy the cat are back in the swing of outdoor living with Colorado’s lawn, landscaping and gardening season. While making your home beautiful is a benefit, this season brings a lot of dangers to your dogs and cats. The veterinarians at Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado ( say if you know the dangers now, you can make good choices as you work in the yard and garden and keep your furry friends safe through the Spring.

Here are some basic “do’s and don’ts”:

  • Pick bigger landscaping rocks, rather than smaller ones. This keeps curious puppies from eating them.
  • Regular Snail bait for the garden attracts cats and dogs and  can cause tremors and seizures that can be severe and life-threatening. Find a non-toxic snail bait instead.
  • Avoid cocoa mulch. The concentration of theobromine — the active ingredient in chocolate that’s toxic to pets — varies depending on the processes companies use to create cocoa mulches.
  • Newly emerging perennial bulbs, plants and grasses can be a tremendous temptation for dogs, cats and rabbits to ingest. You should discourage your pets from eating any plant or fungus in the yard, as many common garden plants and moisture-loving mushrooms often are poisonous if ingested. 
  • Lock doors and seal areas where you store your sprays, pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides.
  • Besides rhododendrons, some of the other common ornamental plants that can be toxic, and even deadly, to pets are azaleas, cycad palms, oleander, foxglove, lily of the valley and castor bean. All varieties of lilies, including Easter lily, tiger lily and day lily, are particularly toxic to cats, often resulting in kidney failure unless the animal receives immediate treatment
  • If you do use chemical pesticides, restrict your pet’s access to the yard immediately after applying them. They are most dangerous when still wet. It takes a few hours for pesticides to dry in the sun and be absorbed by plants and soil. To be on the safe side, wait 24 hours before letting your pet back into the yard.
  • Fertilizer or soil amending products:  Fertilizers or products like Triple Phosphate can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), blockage or even kidney/liver damage if ingested.
  • Compost piles:  Be sure to keep you compost pile covered or contained out of the reach of your pet.  The rotting/fermenting/moldy contents can be dangerous for your pet.
  • Lawn Edging – we have multiple leg and paw lacerations from metal lawn edging every year.  It is best to remove it from your yard completely and use a safe, composite edging. 


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