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Safe Gardening – Toxic Plants

Are any of the Plants in Your Yard Poisonous to Your Pets?  Poisonous plants can mean disaster for the family pet. The Cornell University Toxic Plant Index (www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/) should be bookmarked by all pet owners.  This site has photographs of plants that are poisonous to pets. 

Garden shops and catalogs are full of gorgeous garden shrubs and flowers. They tell us how to water and how much sunshine is needed, but rarely do they tell us if the plant is pet safe. Your dog or cat is probably having visions of digging through or chewing up the plants. We’ll leave the fencing and reprimanding up to you, but just to be on the safe side, how about planting only non-toxic plants? If unplanned periodic demolition of the garden by the family dog is a fact of life, it is good to know the plants he or she is chewing up are non-toxic. It may not help the garden any, but knowing your pet isn’t going to get sick because of it is one less thing to worry about. It’s good to know what is considered safe should the family pet get frisky and start chewing and digging in the flowerbeds.  Check out this list of plants that are considered safe on the Veterinary Partner website: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1217
One of the problems with knowing what plants are safe for your pets is that many different plants have the same common name. There are many plants that use the name "wandering jew"; but the one considered non-toxic is Zebrina pendula. There are also several diffent plants that are called African Daisies; the one considered safe is of the genus Dimorphotheca. The non-toxic Resurrection Lily (also called the Varigated Peacock Ginger) is a safe plant. Many types of lily are toxic, but information is not available on all lilies.

Whether it is a shrub, a tree or just a potted plant, it’s good to know that a dog or cat can’t be harmed by chewing up a few leaves or petals.

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