September 22, 2010
File under: Gardening, Health Concerns, Pets
Fall is a busy time of year in the garden. It is a time when we harvest our fruit and vegetables, enjoy the late blooms of chrysanthemums (mums) and fall crocus and plant our spring garden bulbs.
However, fall gardens can often pose a danger to our animal companions. Not only are these plants toxic to pets, but there are also other hazards for them in the fall garden.
- The leaves and stems of chrysanthemums contain toxins such as, pyrethrins, lactones, sesquiterpene and other irritants. If our pets ingest these toxins, the result can be diarrhea and dermatitis as well as a lack of coordination, salivation and gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Dogs, cats and horses are all affected. These plants are beautiful and offer fresh, warm colors in the fall, but it is best to keep them in an area that your pets cannot access.
- Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnal) contains colchicine and other alkaloids. Symptoms of toxic poisoning to fall crocus include bloody vomiting, diarrhea, multi-organ damage or bone marrow suppression. It is important to note that the fall variety is not related to spring blooming crocus, which are not toxic to pets.
- Tulip bulbs contain the toxin Tulipalin A and B which can cause depression, GI upset and salivation. When planting, be careful to keep tulip bulbs away from dogs, cats and horses.
- The bulbs of daffodils (narcissus, jonquil, paper white) contain lycorine and other alkaloids. Symptoms include convulsions, tremors, GI upset, low blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias. Be sure to fence off the area or keep them in a space your pet cannot access.
- Hyacinth bulbs are also toxic to our pets. They contain alkaloids, which can produce GI upset and dermatitis. Keep dogs and cats away from them.
Defoliating plants and shrubs
- Another fall hazard to our pets is when plants defoliate. Oftentimes dogs can injure their faces when running through the branches. Many dogs do not see the branches and poke their faces or eyes while running and playing. To avoid a laceration, install an attractive temporary fence around the shrubs until spring.
Stone fruit pits, leaves and stems
- One fall garden hazard that may be surprising is the danger in apricot, cherry, peach and plum pits, leaves and stems. As the fruit is ready to be harvested, the pits, stems and leaves (and especially those that are wilting) contain cyanide, cyanogenic glycosides that can be harmful to pets. Be sure to patrol your yard for any fruit that has fallen to the ground.
Fall is a beautiful time of year, but knowing about these potential hazards will also make it a safe time of year for you and your pets.
Elizabeth Bublitz is an animal friendly gardening expert, author and owner of Pawfriendly Landscapes. http://twitter.com/Pawfriendly
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