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Pet Friendly Landscaping
Oleander (Photo: Flickr.)

Pet Friendly Landscaping

MONROEVILLE, AL.—If you own a pet, such as a dog or cat, it is important to know which plants and flowers in your yard are harmful to them. It is important to do research on the plants in your yard or the plants you are planning to have in your yard before you buy them to ensure they are safe for  household pets. Having a pet friendly landscape will reduce worries when you discover your pet has gotten into something outside.


Sago Palm (Photo: Flickr.)

“In some ways, having pets in your landscape is like having small children. To protect your pet use reliable research-based information to choose landscape plants that are safe for your pets,” said Mike McQueen, a regional home grounds, gardens and home pests agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Once you have done your research, you can begin purchasing the plants you desire to have in your yard. With the large number of plants that can bring harm to your pet, sometimes it is easier to focus on avoiding the more common poisonous plants.

Azalea (Photo: Pixaby.)

Azalea (Photo: Pixabay.)

“All of us grow plants that could be toxic to dogs or cats. The good news is, despite the abundance and availability of these plants to pets, incidents of poisoning are not common. The five most commonly used plants in landscapes that can be poisonous to dogs, cats and other domestic animals are: Azalea, Amaryllis, Castor Bean, Oleander and Cycads or Sago Palm,” said McQueen.

It is important to know the habits of your household pet. By knowing their habits, you will be able to determine whether or not your pet is healthy, having an allergic reaction or if your pet has been poisoned. Just like humans, dogs and cats can also have allergic reactions to certain types of plants.

Oleander (Photo: Flickr.)

Oleander (Photo: Flickr.)

According to Pet Poison Help line, it is important to be able to recognize if your pet has been poisoned. Some common signs of poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, hyper salivating, excessive thirst or urination, absence of urination, discoloration to gums and weakness.

McQueen gives an excellent list on what to do if your pet has been poisoned:

  • Remove your pet from the area.
  • Check to make sure your pet is safe: breathing and acting normally.
  • Do NOT give any home antidotes.
  • Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting a vet or Pet Poison Help line
  • Call Pet Poison Help line at 800-213-6680

Even though more than 700 plants can be harmful to pets, you can rest knowing that poisoning of your household pet is not common. It is always important to be on the lookout and know what to do if your pets do encounter a poisonous plant.

To see an extensive list of poisonous and nonpoisonous plants, visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website.

To learn more about how to enhance your garden and landscape, check out Alabama Extension’s “Gardening in the South” series. You can find the series on iBooks.

Based on proven Master Gardener training and seasoned with university research, the “Gardening in the South” series of books is packed with information, tips and tricks to being a successful Southern gardener.

Have a gardening question? Call the Master Gardener Helpline. To reach the helpline, dial 1-877-252-GROW (4769).

About Lindsay Mackey