It’s well known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but it turns out that more than half of UK animal lovers are unaware that houseplants can pose an even greater threat to pets.
For many of us flowers and houseplants are our pride and joy, especially as Britons are spending another summer in their gardens due to the lingering uncertainty of travel.
But what many of us don’t realize is how toxic they can be to our four-legged friends.
New research from the Guide Dogs charity has found that more than 65% of UK dogs – around 7.8 million – are exposed to poisonous plants in their own gardens.
Although many are at risk, only a third of owners (36%) know they should keep their eyes on their dogs while they are sniffing in the backyard.
With 48% of UK dog owners with outdoor space claiming to garden more than ever, this is of particular concern as only 50% have given thought to poisonous plants when planning their beds.
And this despite the fact that a third of owners (32%) admit to having already caught their dogs eating plants.
Dangerous plants aren’t limited to the garden either – the common house sago palm is so poisonous to dogs that a single seed ingested from this dwarf tropical tree could lead to death, but only 10 percent of owners know it and 4 percent hundred even have the poisonous plant in their house.
The most popular plants that pose a risk
Four in 10 (39 percent) other dog owners are unaware that certain plants can cause disease when ingested, and more than half (51 percent) are unaware that it could even be fatal.
Other symptoms resulting from poisoning are diarrhea, excessive drooling, lethargy, and difficulty swallowing.
The charity advises owners to also watch out for substances such as insecticides and poisons used in treating common garden pests (used by 39% of dog owners) that can be potentially toxic to dogs.
One in five dog owners (19 percent) have unintentionally used slug pellets in their yard, ignoring the consequences that can be fatal for dogs.
Owners should be aware that dogs can also get hay fever – and don’t even have to ingest plant substances to feel the effects.
Dr Helen Whiteside, Head of Research at Guide Dogs, said: ‘As we prepare for the August holidays spent in the back garden to welcome family and friends, the gardening fever is building up. triggers, but it’s important that owners put their dog’s well-being in mind when planning a garden.
âAs much as you consider light and soil type when purchasing plants, be sure to think about dog friendliness as well.
âOur canine companions are curious by nature and explore the world with their over-sensitive smell and taste. If you are inviting a dog to share your home, you need to make sure it’s a safe space for them too. check labels carefully and do your research on which plants will work best.
How to make sure your garden is dog friendly
Award-winning garden designer Jonathan Smith shared his top tips on how to make your home and garden a dog’s paradise:
- Toxic trees: Trees can contain a lot of poison, the main ones to avoid are bird cherry (Prunus Avium), horse chestnut and oak. But the number one poisonous tree is yew, so make sure you don’t have any in your garden.
- Annoying blisters: Bulbs can be tempting to dogs due to their ball shape and buried underground, but many are poisonous, including hyacinths, daffodils, alliums, and tulips – so be careful.
- Check the positioning: Adjust the position of the plants to keep hazards out of reach. Most dogs don’t usually eat ivy, but it can be potentially dangerous if eaten in very large quantities. So if you have large amounts of ivy, especially with berries, consider cutting them away from ground level.
- Quantity control: Be very aware of what you have in your garden. For example, while apples are generally safe for dogs, in large quantities they can be potentially dangerous due to the seeds. Try to reduce the number of apple trees you have or clean up fallen apples in the fall, so that not all of them are eaten.
- Safe for summer: For many colors, plants like roses, lilies, hollyhocks, and camellias are very safe for dogs.
- Perfect pots: For pots, borders and hanging baskets, opt for bedding plants like snapdragons, petunias, salvias, fuchsias and sunflowers.
- Towards the greenery: Choose a native and mixed hawthorn hedge, which is not only good for wildlife, but also much more dog friendly than laurel hedges which are often poisonous (with the exception of the berry). For lower foliage, grasses and ferns are generally good, safe options for dogs.