Outdoor experts from GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have highlighted the most common hazards in the garden to allow dog-owners to keep their pets safe from harm this spring. As temperatures rise, it’s likely that dogs will be spending more time in your back garden, so make sure you take these precautionary measures to keep them happy and healthy. Remember, if your pet shows signs of having eaten something poisonous (such as vomiting, diarrhoea or weakness), seek veterinary assistance immediately.
Fruit. Many of you may be surprised to learn that the pits and stones in apricots, peaches, plums and cherries contain deadly cyanide, so they could become very dangerous if crushed before consumed. The stones also pose a choking hazard, and the stems and leaves could also be harmful to dogs.
Slugs and snails. Dogs can be at risk of catching a dangerous lungworm infection if they eat a slug or snail that carries the larvae of the parasite. Usually dogs will not be inclined to eat large slugs or snails, they should still be cleared away immediately, especially if they’re near food bowls or toys.
Plants. Tomatoes, potatoes, azaleas and lilies are just some of the common vegetables and flowers that can be deadly to dogs. Unripe, green or raw potatoes can be severely dangerous, while tomato leaves, azaleas and every part of a lily could be poisonous to dogs and cause vomiting, diarrhoea or even death. If you must grow any of the above, make sure your dog can’t get to them while you’re not looking.
Compost. Compost heaps are usually full of mouldy food and waste, which produce dangerous mycotoxins – your dog might be tempted to root around in the compost heap if it can smell the remnants of tasty dinners, so make sure it’s properly blocked off by a bin or boundaries.
Cocoa Mulch. Dog owners will all be aware that chocolate is very harmful to dogs, but so can garden bedding mulch made from cocoa beans. It’s wise to avoid this ingredient in your mulch if you’re a dog owner, as it contains the same ingredient in chocolate (theobromine) which acts like caffeine and can lead to your pooch experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle or heart problems.
Fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides. Many insecticides and pesticides contain metaldehyde and disulfoton, which pose significant threats to dogs – read the packaging closely and don’t buy the product if there’s a potential risk. Be careful with high street fertilisers too, as they can contain similar chemicals.
Mushrooms. Many mushrooms are perfectly edible but others can be highly toxic – to both dogs and their human owners. Symptoms of a curious canine who’s ate a backyard mushroom can range from sickness and hallucinations to kidney or liver failure, so unless you’re an expert who can tell the difference between varieties, it’s best to just remove all backyard fungi.
Ponds. If you’re lucky enough to have a lovely pond in your back garden, it’s wise to make sure it has proper fencing or a gravel or plant border. An exposed pond with vulnerable slopes could mean your dog slips, trips or jumps into the water when unattended and lead to all sorts of difficulties.
Weeds. Some weeds are barbed and meant to burrow into the ground to germinate – but this also means they could penetrate a dog’s body and cause internal damage. It’s almost impossible to avoid this common weed, but should check your dog regularly (especially entry points like the ears, nose, mouth and eyes) and any weeds you spot in the garden should be uprooted (not mown) as soon as possible.
Weed killer. Swallowing or even licking many common domestic weed killers could be really risky for dogs and cause breathing or heart problems if enough is consumed. This is because many weed killers contain glyphosate, so it’s vital to keep your dog inside if you’re planning on using this product.
Unsecured tools and equipment. All sharp, mechanical and potentially dangerous garden tools or equipment should be securely stored in a shed. A dog can easily injure themselves accidentally on items left lying around.
Lawn feed. Widely available lawn feeds often include ferrous sulphate which has the potential to harm dogs’ skin and cause gastrointestinal problems or iron poisoning. The safest way for green-fingered Brits who own dogs to grow garden grass is the natural way – with sunlight, water and organic enrichment.
Poorly maintained boundaries. Not only could a broken backyard fence fall onto and harm your dog, curious canines that see a gap in your property’s boundaries might be tempted by the new sights, smells and sounds to investigate what’s beyond.