Dog owners have been warned to steer their pets clear of 13 possible dangers in their gardens this spring.
Outdoor experts from GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk have highlighted the potential hazards dogs could face in British backyards and encouraged big-hearted homeowners to take appropriate precautionary measures.
From common plants like tomatoes and lilies, to potentially deadly fruit, fertilisers and weed killers, families that love their dogs need to be extra careful in their backyards as temperatures rise.
A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “Now that the worst of the winter weather has passed, dogs and their owners alike will be starting to spend much more time in the garden.
“So our specialists have encouraged dog owners to be proactive in protecting their best friends by keeping an eye out for common garden threats to avoid any problems.
“Though we hope our advice will help protect your dog, if he or she gets into difficulty or shows any sign of having ingested a poison, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness or confusion, it’s vital to seek veterinary assistance right away.”
Here is the GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk list of 13 potential doggy dangers in the garden:
Many Brits might be surprised to learn that the stones and pits in apricots, cherries, plums and peaches contain deadly cyanide.
These fruits could therefore be very dangerous if they’re crushed before they’re consumed and larger stones could be a choking hazard too, whilst the stems and leaves might also be poisonous.
2. Slugs and snails
Dogs can catch a dangerous lungworm infection if they accidentally eat a slug or snail that carries the larvae of the parasite.
Though your dog won’t usually want to consume slugs or snails, they should still be cleared away urgently, particularly any that are near toys or sources of water.
Tomatoes, potatoes, azaleas and lilies are just some of the common vegetables and flowers that can be deadly to dogs.
Unripe, green or raw potatoes can be severely dangerous to dogs, whilst tomato leaves, azaleas and every part of a lily could be poisonous to dogs and cause vomiting, diarrhoea or even death.
If you must grow any of the above, make sure your dog can’t get to them while you’re not looking.
Garden compost heaps will usually be packed full of mouldy food and waste, which can produce dangerous mycotoxins which are extremely dangerous to dogs.
A dog might be quite tempted compost that still contains the remnants of tasty dinners though, so it’s important to make sure a proper bin or barriers are used to prevent your pet smelling and then raiding the pile in search of a snack.
5. Cocoa Mulch
All dog owners should be well aware that eating chocolate could poison their pet, but garden bedding mulch made from cocoa beans can be dangerous too.
It’s wise to avoid using cocoa mulch in your backyard if you have a dog because it contains theobromine – the same hazardous ingredient that’s in chocolate – which acts like caffeine and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle or heart problems.
6. Fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides
Many typical insecticides and pesticides contain chemicals such as metaldehyde and disulfoton which are a significant threat to dogs, so read the packaging closely and don’t buy the product if there’s a potential risk.
Lots of high street fertilisers will also contain anti-pest additives and consequently dangerous chemical, so caution is highly recommended with those too.
Many mushrooms are perfectly edible but others can be highly toxic – to both dogs and their human owners.
Symptoms of a curious canine who’s ate a backyard mushroom can range from sickness and hallucinations to kidney or liver failure, so unless you’re an expert that can tell the difference between varieties, it’s best to remove all backyard fungi before it’s too late.
If you’re lucky enough to have a lovely pond in your back garden, it’s wise to make sure it’s exterior is properly barriered with fencing, gravel or plants.
An exposed pond with vulnerable slopes could mean your dog slips, trips or jumps into the water when unattended and lead to all sorts of difficulties.
Some weeds are barbed and meant to burrow into the ground to germinate – but this also means they could penetrate a dog’s body too and cause internal damage.
It’s pretty much impossible to avoid this common weed, but your dog’s body should be checked regularly (especially entry points like the ears, nose, mouth and eyes) and any weeds you spot in the garden should be uprooted (not mown) as soon as possible.
10. Weed killer
Swallowing or even licking many common domestic weed killers could be really risky for dogs and cause breathing or heart problems if enough is consumed.
This is because many weed killers contain glyphosate, so it’s vital to shut your dog inside if you’re planning to use such a product.
11. Unsecured tools and equipment
All sharp, mechanical and potentially dangerous garden tools or equipment should be securely stored in a shed.
This is even more important if there’s a dog at home, which could easily injure itself on items left lying around if it knows no better.
12. Lawn feed
Widely available lawn feeds often include ferrous sulphate which has the potential to harm dogs’ skin and cause gastrointestinal problems or iron poisoning.
The safest way for green-fingered Brits who own dogs to grow garden grass is the natural way – with sunlight, water and organic enrichment.
13. Poorly maintained boundaries
A broken backyard fence or collapsed garden wall is not only a hazard that could fall on to and hurt and explorer dog.
Curious canines that see a large enough gap in your property’s boundaries might be tempted by sights, smells or sounds to investigate what’s beyond and find themselves on the loose in public before you know it.