May is gardening season in Vermont. Plants are going in, mulch is being put down and fertilizer is being applied. A client asked if I could rerun this article because of that so here it it. Of all the different types of house plants I could write a book on which ones are toxic and which ones aren’t. What I suggest if you want to find out about a particular house plant you have is to go to the internet or the library. Its not just house plants though. Different parts of vegetable plants can cause problems in your pets. Corn stalks, tomato and potato vines can cause serious GI disturbances and rhubarb can cause severe kidney problems. Other than plants there are numerous things inside and outside your house that can be toxic to your pets.
Compost piles, I love them, they are great for the environment, great fertilizer but they can be very, very bad for you pets. The breakdown of the organic material is accomplished by many different types of bacteria any or all of which can either be toxic or produce a toxin that could cause anything from a stomach ache to death. I strongly urge you to put a fence around your compost pile.
Coco bean mulch can be severely toxic. Mulch that smells and tastes like chocolate, how could they resist? It’s made from cocoa bean hulls, a by-product of the chocolate industry. Damaged cocoa beans, cocoa bean fines and other unnecessary plant parts are mixed in with the hulls and sold as mulch. It has the same toxicity as chocolate but depending on the mixture could actually have more theobromine and caffeine than regular chocolate. My advice, don’t buy it and if your in your yard and smell chocolate you need to investigate your neighbors garden.
Oak trees sound pretty benign don’t they? They’re not. Acorns, shoots and leaves can all cause severe kidney problems that can be fatal. Chewing on leaves or acorns and even drinking water that has acorns or leaves soaking in it can cause some serious problems.
Things like swimming pool products, fertilizer, weed killer, bug sprays and any other household chemicals are definitely a no no for your pets, please keep all of these products and any others I haven’t mentioned way out of your pets reach. If your pet comes into contact with any of these please call poison control or if there is a phone number on the product that’s even better. If your pet gets into the compost, coco bean mulch or plants and you witness it, you can give them hydrogen peroxide orally which will make them vomit but I suggest calling your veterinarian first.
As usual with my article the key is prevention. Fences, high shelves and vigilance will help keep our four legged friends safe.