Is Your Garden Toxic To Your Pet?

Landscaping design

In the United States, there are approximately 70 to 80 million domesticated dogs and another 74 to 96 million pet cats. Of course, animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, birds, teacup pigs, and even goats can — and do — make good pets. That’s a lot of proud pet parents. Unfortunately, while pets typically bring owners love and joy, they can make things more difficult, too. Gardening, for example, can be challenging and even life-threatening (to the dog) with Fido in tow. Here are some pointers for growing a pet-friendly garden:

Dog Lovers, Consider Alternatives To The Popular Cocoa Mulch

Colored mulch is a rising trend — and while it’s mostly harmless, pet owners do need to be careful. Cocoa mulch in particular can threaten the livelihood and well-being of man’s best friend. Cocoa mulch is made out of cocoa bean shells. As you can imagine, it smells heavenly — and it’s a nice, rich color, too. Unfortunately, dogs are just as attracted by its sweet scent, and that can be a big problem. “Depending on the amount involved, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures,” according to the American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (ASPCA). Of course, for those who have their hearts set on rich or colored mulch for their early spring gardening, there are several comparable alternatives. Hemlock bark, shredded pine, or cedar are far less toxic and much less likely to attract dogs’ attention.

What To Know About Compost For Gardening

Do your gardening or landscaping designs require some form of compost? If so, step lightly. Compost for gardening can be an effective and valuable technique, even if you have pets. However, it is wise to do a big of digging (metaphorically) first. Read up on what kinds of fruits, vegetables, or shells and grounds can be toxic to cats and dogs, or your goat or teacup pig — whatever the case may be. Another option is sealing off compost. If you’re going with this option, make sure the lid or container is tamper-proof, and not something pets can get into while you’re looking away.

Gardening and pets… the two can coexist peacefully! Before gardening, research the best, non-toxic compost materials and pet-friendly mulch.


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