How to - The Healthy Gardener

Quiz: How pet-friendly is your garden?

Find out if you've got some plants or places in the yard that may be unsafe

Question 1
Cocoa mulch may look great covering your flower beds, but it can be lethal to dogs and cats.

Answer = True
Cocoa mulch contains a lethal ingredient called theobromine which is toxic to cats and dogs. It smells like chocolate and dogs especially find the smell quite enticing. If a lethal amount of the mulch is ingested, your furry companion can suffer from severe convulsions and die. Instead of using cocoa mulch, consider using cedar, pine or mixed mulch for your garden.

Question 2
Pools and ponds can be a refreshing place for your pet to cool off, but be wary of hidden dangers.

Answer = True
Pools and ponds pose a very real threat to dogs and cats, especially curious pets. Although most dogs tend to be very good swimmers, if they fall into a pool covered with a solar blanket or cover, they can become entangled and trapped. If your pool only has a ladder as an exit, your dog can become trapped and eventually succumb to exhaustion if he falls in. A fence around your pool and pond will provide security for your pet and peace of mind for you. If you do share your yard with a water loving dog and own a suitable pool with stairs, make sure you enforce some safe swimming rules. Show them how to enter and exit the pool safely using the stairs and teach them that they are only allowed to swim when supervised.

Question 3
Pesticides and herbicides are not harmful to your pets.

Answer = False

Pesticides and herbicides are the most common type of poisoning in pets. The most dangerous types of pesticides include slug, snail and mouse bait, and ant traps. Cats seem to find slug and snail bait particularly appealing and will quickly gobble them up if they come across them in the garden. Instead of using slug bait, try using beer traps or crushed up egg shells scattered on the soil around the affected plants.  If using ant traps, make sure you put them well out of reach of your four-legged friends. A pet friendly garden should be a chemical-free garden.


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