For many us our our gardens and our house plants are our pride and joy.
They bring some much-needed greenery and colour to our living spaces, and they make our homes look decidedly more Instagrammable.
But what many of us aren’t considering is how our love of plants and flowers could be dangerous for our four-legged friends.
More than 65% of UK dogs , approximately 7.8 million, are exposed to poisonous plants in their very own gardens.It’s well known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but – according to research released by charity Guide Dogs – more than half (51%) of UK dog owners aren’t aware that popular plants can pose an even greater threat to pets.
Make Some Simple Frozen Dog Treats. Looking for an easy way to keep your dog busy? Make them some frozen dog treats. Freeze some broth in ice trays to give your dog a nice little treat on those hot summer days.
Only a third of owners (36%) know to keep their eyes on their dogs while they sniff around the back yard.
Only half of dog owners have thought about which plants are poisonous when planning their gardens, in spite of the fact third of owners (32%) admit they have caught their dogs eating plants before.Perilous plants are not limited to the garden either – the common household Sago Palm is so toxic to dogs that one seed alone ingested from this dwarf tropical tree could result in death, yet only 10% of owners are aware of this and 4% even have the poisonous plant in their home.
Use a Roll of Packing Tape to Pick Up Loose Pet Fur. Do your clothes pick up dog hair like crazy? Don’t have a lint roller on hand? One of my favorite life hacks for dog owners is using packing tape to pick off all that dog hair that gets all over your clothes.
A further four in 10 (39%) of dog owners are oblivious that certain plants can induce sickness when ingested, and over half (51%) are not aware it could even prove fatal. Other symptoms as a result of poisoning are diarrhoea, excessive drooling, lethargy and difficulty swallowing.
The most popular plants that pose a risk
The charity advises that owners also need to watch out for substances such as insecticides and poisons used in treating common garden nuisances (used by 39% of dog owners) that can be potentially toxic to dogs.
Watch that plate of cookies! A Dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 – 100,000 times more acute as that of humans.
One in five dog owners have unwittingly used slug pellets in their garden, unaware that commonly available types can be fatal to their dogs and cause severe symptoms within an hour.
Owners also need to be aware that like humans, dogs can be struck by hay fever – and don’t even need to ingest plant substances to experience negative effects.
Many dog owners have seen their dog suffer with skin itchiness (22%), coughing (14%) and swollen eyes and noses (9%) due to allergies to airborne pollen, grass and trees. However, as few as four in 10 (43%) knew that this can be easily treated.
‘It’s important owners put your dog’s welfare front of mind when planning a garden,’ says Dr Helen Whiteside, head of research at Guide Dogs.
Use a Food Dispensing Toy for Fast Eaters. If your dog eats too fast use a food dispensing toy (we love the Kong Wobbler & Bob a Lot), or place a few tennis balls in their bowl to slow their eating. Not only does this keep them from eating too quick, it gives them a nice mental workout.
‘As much as you would consider light and soil type when buying plants, ensure you think of dog friendliness too.
‘Our canine companions are curious by nature and explore the world through their hypersensitive sense of smell and taste – if you invite a dog to share your home you have to ensure it is a safe space for them too. Make sure you check the labels carefully and do your research on what plants will work best.’
Help your pet be the best pet he can be. Train your pet by setting him up to succeed. There’s a reason for everything your dog or cat does, and the reason rarely if ever involves being deliberately disobedient.
How to make sure your garden is dog-friendlyAward-winning garden designer Jonathan Smith has shared his top tips on how to make your house and garden and pooch-friendly paradise:
- Toxic trees:Trees can pack a lot of poison. The main ones to steer clear of are Bird Cherry (Prunus Avium), Horse Chestnut and Oak. But the number one poisonous tree is the Yew, so make sure you definitely don’t have this in your garden.
- Bothersome bulbs:Bulbs can be tempting for dogs due to their ball shape and the fact they are buried, however many are poisonous including hyacinths, daffodils, alliums and tulips.
- Check the positioning: Adapt the position of plants to keep dangers out of reach. Most dogs won’t usually eat ivy, but it can be potentially hazardous if eaten in very large quantities. So, if you have large quantities of ivy, especially with berries, consider cutting them back away from ground level.
- Quantity control: Be very aware of what you have in your garden. For example, though apples are generally safe for dogs to eat, in large quantities they can be potentially hazardous due to the seeds. Aim to reduce the number of apple trees you have or clear up the fallen apples in the autumn, so they don’t all get eaten.
- Safe for summer: For lots of colour, plants like roses, lilies, hollyhocks and camelias are very dog-safe.
- Perfect pots:For pots, borders and hanging baskets go for bedding plants like snapdragons, petunias, salvias, fuchsias and sunflowers.
- Go-to greenery: Choose a native, mixed Hawthorn hedge, which is not only good for wildlife but is also a lot more dog-friendly than Laurel hedges which are often toxic (with the exception of Bay). For lower lying foliage, grasses and ferns are generally good dog safe options.
Remove pet hair from carpet with a squeegee.
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