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Beware of perils in the garden

Several common garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats.
Several common garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats.

As we now turn into June and, according to the gardening calendar, we are now officially in summer, most of us are spending a long time in the garden, especially with our pets.

However, garden hazards can be present especially for inquisitive puppies and kittens.

Slugs and snails are now known to carry the parasitic lungworm known as Angiostrongylus vasorum. Once released within your dog’s body, it travels through the bloodstream and will eventually lodge in the large blood vessels of the chest.

It causes chronic coughing, heart problems and bleeding disorders, so if your dog is coughing and seems chronically tired, then this could be the problem.

The natural host for this parasite is the fox and as numbers have risen in the last 40 years, so has the incidence of lung worm in dogs.

Slugs and snails increase in number in wet springs, much to gardeners’ despair, and dogs will eat them when they naturally chew on grass. There are treatments for this parasite, but prevention really is key. Use specific wormers and spot-ons licenced against this disease from your vet and they are well worth the protection they give.

Eliminating slugs and snails from the garden is important but it is essential to remember that slug bait containing metaldehyde is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and can cause fits and death - so avoid this please.

A newmulch on the market is made from the husk of cocoa beans – a by-product of chocolate manufacture. However, just like chocolate, it contains theobromine with is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and a racing heart. Dogs like the taste of it, as it smells deliciously like chocolate, so avoid these products in the garden.

Fish, blood and bone meal soil enhancer is very attractive to dogs and when sprinkled on soil, my dog digs away trying to find a hidden bone. However, it is high in nitrogen and some are fortified with iron and can cause illness if eaten. Bone meal itself can form a hard plug with digestive juices and block the intestines.

Plants ranging from lilies to foxgloves can all cause toxicity. It is fairly well known that all parts of the lily are toxic to cats, causing renal failure. Even grooming the pollen off the coat can be harmful to cats and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Other plants contain alkaloids and these tend to cause drooling and nausea, so of you suspect your pet has eaten your precious perennials, call your vet for advice.

It’s great to be outside in the warmer weather, but be aware of some of the garden hazards and avoid them if you can.

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