Not so fast. As far as potential gardening hazards are concerned, plants are not the only danger lurking around your house. Gardens with pet-safe plants can still cause problems to a curious pet. Take a look at these other items:
Blood Meal Fertilizers – This is dried, ground, and flash-frozen blood and contains 12% nitrogen. While it’s a great organic fertilizer, if ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. More importantly, it can result in severe pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Some types of blood meal are also fortified with iron, resulting in iron toxicity.
Bone Meal Fertilizers – This is made up of de-fatted, dried, and flash-frozen animal bones that are ground to a powder. This “bone” is also what makes it so palatable to your dog, so make sure to keep your pet from digging in it and ingesting the soil. While this also makes a great organic fertilizer, it can become a problem when consumed as the bone meal forms a large cement-like bone ball in the stomach – which can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract – resulting in possible surgery to remove it!
Rose and Plant Fertilizers – Some of these fertilizers contain disulfoton or other types of organophosphates (OP). As little as 1 teaspoon of 1% disulfoton can kill a 55 lb dog, so be careful! Organophosphates, while less commonly used, can result in severe symptoms including salivation, lacrimation, urination, and defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, hyperthermia, etc. In some cases, it can be fatal!
Pesticides and Insecticides – Most pesticides or insecticides (typically those that come in a spray can) are basic irritants to the pet and are usually not a huge concern unless a pet’s symptoms become persistent. Some may contain an organophosphate which can be life threatening when consumed in large quantities. It is always best to speak to a trained medical professional if there are any questions.
Iron – This is commonly added to fertilizers, and can result in iron toxicity (from ingestion of elemental iron). This is different from “total” iron ingestion, and can be confusing to differentiate. Large ingestions can result in vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and potential cardiac and liver effects.
The best thing any pet owner can do is to be educated on the household toxins (both inside the house and out in the garden!) – that way you make sure how to pet proof your house appropriately. Make sure to keep all these products in labeled, tightly-sealed containers out of your pet’s reach. When in doubt, please feel free to call Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions.
*Courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline