Landscaping is for people, pets or both? When picking flowers and shrubs, you focus on how they look and maybe how much work is required to keep them looking great. You work hard to create a beautiful outdoor backyard to enjoy with your family, so you'll also want to consider family safety, including pets. Like indoor plants, always check on toxicity to children and pets when selecting plants.
Maybe your dog won't eat a plant but my chocolate labrador eats grass all the time. That's why you want to research and find the best trees, shrubs and flowers to enjoy and keep everyone healthy.
Pet Poison Hotline, 800-213-6680
In an emergency, you want to keep pet emergency information in a place you where you can find it easily. You'll not only want your veterinarian's phone number, but also how and where to get emergency care when the office is closed. For help researching plants that are poisonous to pets, and quick tips on what to do if you think your pet is poisoned, visit the PetPoisonHelpline. Here's a video that explains the top 10 pet poisons …
PLANTing a Pet Safe Yard
Let's explore your backyard a little more and see how you can make it a safer haven for your pets. The video reviews the top 10 poisonous plants including some common plants like azaleas, rhododenron and a number of lilies. What I found interesting is a family of plants like crocuses can have a range of toxicity. The spring (Crocus species) can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea but it's the autumn (Colchicum autumnale) crocus that is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure.
Now you can see why it's important to research plants before adding them to your yard … and even if your dog only runs loose in the enclosed backyard, consider neighborhood pets when choosing shrubs for your front yard.For those who like to garden, beware that many of the most common bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, are toxic so you need to be careful when you're working in the garden.
If you suspect your pet's not feeling well due to ingesting a plant, or think they ate something that could hurt them, bring a piece of the plant with you when visiting your veterinarian. As some signs of poisoning might take a while to become visible, don't wait to visit the vet.
Pet's and Your Backyard
In addition to your choice of plants, there are a number of other backyard planning considerations when you have pets in the family. If you're looking for even more information on this topic, you'll probably enjoy Dogscaping: Creating the Perfect Backyard for You and Your Dog.
- Like your plants, check the toxicity of any pest and weed control chemicals used to maintain your landscaping.
- Make sure there's enough shade for your pets to remain cool, so maybe you want to add some taller and/or leafier plants along the sides of your backyard.
- If your pet will be outdoors when it's cool, consider adding some hardscape that absorbs heat like a flagstone patio or walkway. This landscaping feature can add beauty and provide warmth for a dog.
- Make sure pets can't get into your composting bin as decomposing food waste might smell good to them …as any owner of a labrador understands.
- If you want to add a water feature to your landscaping, consider one that uses potable water that your pets can drink from safely.