Many plants, flowers (including all bulbs), trees and other items like mulch (cocoa, pine, rubber) are hazardous for animal friends in gardens (fresh compost contains mould so also keep away from pets). Some houseplants (including lilies and sago palm) can harm simply by a tail brushing past (we need seed pack warning labels). Blue Cross has good tips on pet-friendly gardens. Learn more on:
- Plants poisonous to dogs
- Plants poisonous to cats
- Plants poisonous to rabbits
- Plants (and trees) poisonous to horses
- Indoor plants to avoid
- Toxic Christmas plants (holly, mistletoe, ivy, poinsettas)
For a small fee, Animal Poison Helpline runs a 24-hour helpline for pets that may have come into contact with toxic (anything) to see if it merits a vet visit. Vets use this (plus membership VPIS Global).
Paving is better than gravel (gets stuck in paws). For drives, use funnels to change oil and antifreeze in enclosed spaces (ideally let mechanics do it – absorb spills with sand or kitty litter).
Grow organic grass and do paw/ear checks after walks in long grass. After snowy walks, rinse paws with warm water (and use safer alternatives to rock salt). Also pick up poop to avoid harm to others and dispose of slug pellets (use safe deterrents instead).
Remove/repair broken fence posts and areas that snag. This book to keep your dog safe has info on collar safety and toxic plants (don’t burn citronella candles). Provide shady spaces (even for cats) to avoid heatstroke. Keep fresh clean water nearby and ensure water butts have safety locks (avoid open barrels which are drowning hazards – stagnant water also attracts mosquitoes).
Ensure garden ponds have sloping sides and keep pools covered when not in use. Read how to avoid/treat adder bites. Although campaigners recommend fence holes for hedgehogs to roam at night, avoid this for areas near escapee terriers etc.
Don’t encourage birds and bats to gardens, with cats or dogs. To help stop birds flying into windows, never face indoor foliage to face outdoors. Turn off lights (or use blinds and task lights).