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Canberra
Monday, November 30, 2020

Do’s and don’ts for cats and dogs in the garden

Poisonous plants to be wary of in the Canberra garden for cats and dogs.

You might be surprised to know that many of our popular locally grown plants can be toxic to our fur friends. Many curious dogs and cats are hospitalised each year because owners are simply not aware of the poisonous nature of some common plants.

While most dogs and cats are wily enough to not devour plants, I only have to look as far as my own cavoodle, Molly, who will eat anything that is not out of reach. A delicacy she has recently taking a liking too is tissues! We’ve all been in a situation where a pet under our watch suddenly lifts their head and starts chowing down on a mystery morsel and, short of hastily getting them to spit it out, you can only hope it’s not harmful.

It is easy enough to not plant toxic plants in your garden but what happens when we take our pets to another household or the ever exciting “walkies”. Positive training seems to be the key to preventing our pets from eating harmful plants or fruits. Sprays and other deterrents have been found not only to be ineffectual but also unsafe for both pet and plant. With that said, let’s have a look at some plants to avoid if you have a particularly inquisitive companion.

Rhododendrons: Very common genus around the Canberra region for their beautiful flowers and hardy nature. Azaleas fall under this genus and if ingested by cats or dogs can be fatal. Other issues include digestive problems, drooling and weakness.

Ivy: Hated by many and loved by some this Jumanji-esque climber is found extensively throughout the region. Once in an area, it is difficult to get rid of and for dogs and cats it poses a risk. Mouth swelling, vomiting and diahorrea are possibile if ingested or chewed.

Oleander: Extensively used as a parks and private garden plant across Canberra due to its glossy leaves and gorgeous flowers. Poisonous to humans and pets alike, consumption to cats and dogs can cause excessive drooling and heart failure.

Tomato plant: Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh tomato throughout the garden? Some pooches love it so much they just can’t help but give it a taste test. Tomatoes are comparatively a mild toxin but will dish out a nasty dose of discomfort. Weakness, severe gastrointestinal upset and behavioural changes can all be experienced by cats and dogs.

Grapes: Another tempting treat for cat and dog alike. Like all toxins, the effects will differ from pet to pet but in large amounts grapes can severely affect the kidneys with milder cases causing vomiting.

Thankfully for pet parents, cases of plant ingestion leading to death are rare and it’s a case of being mindful of what’s in our garden. The plants listed above are some of the most common found in our region but there are hundreds of plants that are toxic to our pets, so do your research before deciding on a plant for your garden.

-Mike Van Diemen, Serenity Now Gardens

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