Tuesday, 31 March 2009

plants that are dangerous to dogs

Penny usually stays in the house unless we are outside in the garden and I'm thinking that might not be such a bad thing, after reading an article in the latest edition of the Australian magazine, Dogs Life.

'A backyard fit for a dog', it was called. In a sidebar there was a list of 'problem plants' that shouldn't be in the garden. Rather than worrying about which dangerous plant I have, I should worry about which one I DON'T have - I might as well have every dangerous plant in the world, instead of only most of them.

One that I particularly noticed was apricot, which I've read about before. I usually spend hours picking up the stones from the apricots and nectarines each year. If only those pesky birds that steal our fruit could learn to put the stones in the rubbish bins!

The ASPCA says the stems, leaves and seeds of peaches and apricots contain cyanide, and that the leaves are particularly toxic when they are wilting. Symptoms would be brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.

I take particular care to remove all apricot branches after pruning. In general I would leave prunings to wilt in the garden and add their leaves to the mulch. But definitely not apricots. Not peaches. And not nectarines, seeing they are a type of peach.

However, although I'm not going to remove these trees, or the plum tree, or the daisy bushes, or the geraniums, hydrangea, azaleas and rhododendrons - to name a few! - I think I will move the pot with the aloe vera, because I can imagine a scenario where she might break a piece off as she leaps into that part of the garden chasing a tennis ball. I had actually wondered whether aloe vera would be a useful doggy medication if Penny had skin problems. I guess not, though the fact that it's poisonous doesn't necessarily mean it would be bad rubbed onto the skin.

The ASPCA has this plant listed as toxic to dogs and there's a photo of the plant.

I have a book on my shelf (I know, old technology, but what can replace the feel of a book in your hand?) called Plant Alert; A Garden Guide for Parents. It says about aloe vera:
Severe diarrhoea and stomach pains can result if the juice, which is a violent purgative, is ingested. In large doses it can cause dehydration and weight loss due to excessive loss of fluid from diarrhoea.

2 comments:

Sally Forth said...

This is a bit scary because my Penny loves to steal peaches and suck all of the juice out. She also loves grapes. They don't seem to have harmed her though.

parlance said...

Sally Forth, I've heard that grapes are bad. But on the other hand I know people who've been feeding grapes to their dog for ages. I guess I would err on the side of caution - but that's me, the champion worrier!

As for the peaches, the ASPCA site did only say the seeds, leaves and stems. I wonder if the fruit is okay? I've heard the stones in the middle of the fruit can cause problems in the intestines, I think. Not sure about that, though.