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An Ounce of Prevention

April 11, 2018

In spring, a young (old) man’s (lady’s) fancy turns to thoughts of…GARDENING! This year my longing to dig in the dirt has so far been thwarted by our, shall we say, lack of SPRING! I do, however, enjoy looking at posts from my English cousins whose gardens are coming into bloom, the odd gardening blog and the hopeful looking seed packets now prominently displayed at our local food emporium. Since moving here from Northern California (four years now) I have learned some interesting lessons about gardening in the upper Midwest. I say lessons, since I have had my fair share of garden casualties. You could ask about the 150 tulip bulbs I planted which the local rodent population quickly consumed. Their appetite for the delicacy depleted my crop to about six lovely, but lonely, blooms. But let’s not dwell on the past—rather, full steam ahead to planting and, if I am fortunate, enjoying the blossoming fruits of my labors in the dirt. All of which leads to this: a quick reminder of the hazards of plant life. Unlike the voracious rodents, our pets cannot always determine which of our favorite shrubs, bulbs and other garden lovelies are toxic. So, as a reminder, here is the perennial list with which most of us are familiar of plants that can do serious damage to our four footed family members. This list generally applies to dogs, cats, pet hamsters and the like, birds, and lizards. As always, consult your trusty veterinarian for a more complete understanding of toxic temptations. I have also included (courtesy of the ASPCA website) other non-plant items that have been known to cause harm to pets.




Algae              Aloe                            Amaryllis                    Andromeda Japonica

Asian Lily       Asparagus Fern           Australian Nut            Autumn Crocus

Azalea             Belladonna                  Bird of Paradise          Bittersweet

Black Locust   Branching Ivy             Buckeye                      Buddhist Pine

Caladium        Calla Lily                    Castor Bean                Ceriman

Clematis          Cordatum                    Corn Plant                   Cycads

Cyclamen        Daffodil                      Daylily                                    Devil’s Ivy

Diffenbachia   Dumbcane                   Easter Lily                  Elephant Ears

Emerald Fern  English Ivy                  Eucalyptus                  Ferns

Fiddle Leaf

Philodendron  Florida Beauty            Foxglove                     Glacier Ivy

Gladiolas         Gold Dust Dracaena   Golden Pothos            Heavenly Bamboo

Honeysuckle   Hurricane Plant           Hyacinth                     Hydrangea

Iris                   Jerusalem Cherry        Jimson Weed              Kalanchoe

Lantana           All Lilium Species      Lily of the Valley       Lupine

Marble Queen Morning Glory            Mother-in-law             Mountain Laurel

Narcissus         Needlepoint Ivy          Nephthysis                  Nightshade

Oleander         Panda                          Peace Lily                   Philodendron

Poison Hemlock                                 Privet                          Red Emerald

Rhododendron Ribbon Plant              Rosary Pea                  Sago Palm

Satin Pothos    Schefflera                   Striped Dracaena        Sweetheart Ivy

Tulip               Water Hemlock          Wisteria                      Yew




Chocolate                    Grapes             Raisins            Macadamia Nuts

Avocados                    Onions             Garlic              Salt

Tea Leaves                  Coffee             Xylitol             Alcohol

Raw Yeast Dough       Spoiled Food   Fatty Food


Note: Read your peanut butter label. Dogs are pretty nuts about peanut butter, but before you offer it as a treat, you’ll want to check the ingredients. Some brands contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is very dangerous to dogs.



Coins               Buttons                        Jewelry           Nylons

Yarn                Thread                         Needles           Batteries

Paper Clips     Rubber Bands             Twist Ties       Plastic Wrap and Plastic Sheeting

Silverware       Cotton Swabs              Hair Pins         Eye Glasses

Dental Floss    Towels                        Razors             Electrical Cords



Doorways        Windows                     Balconies        Gates

Fireplaces/Fire Pits



Ibuprofen                    Aspirin            Acetaminophen          Cold and Flu Meds

Antidepressants          Vitamins         Diet Pills                     Anti-Cancer Drugs

Tobacco Products       Detergents       Fabric Softener           Drain Cleaners

Oven Cleaners            Disinfectants   Bleach                         Potpourri

Lime Remover            Lead                Paint Thinners             Flea and Tick Products

Rodent Bait                 Mothballs        Fly Bait                       Antifreeze/Coolant

Gasoline                      Oil                   Insecticides                 Pesticides

Fertilizer                     Cocoa Mulch  Compost                      Non-Pet-Safe de-Icing Salt

Lighter Fluid               Matches



Always keep human medication out of reach! Consumption of over-the-counter medication is the #1 reason why pet parents call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, followed by consumption of prescription meds.




Assorted Other Hazards In The Home:

Balloons                      Confetti                       Noise Makers              Flowers

Chocolate                    Fake Grass                  Spring Bulbs               Fireworks

Candy of All Kinds     Turkey Bones              Chicken Bones            Holiday Tree

Light Strands              Tinsel                          Electrical Cords            Styrofoam

Bathtubs                      Sinks                           Toilets                         Washer/Dryer

Pool                             Hot Tub                       Grill


While this may sound a bit manic (even to me), hard learned lessons concerning a certain daughter’s Great Dane and his many emergency trips to the vet prove that the average home is a veritable mine field of hazards. Most of us use common sense most of the time, however, my hope is that this little reminder will save our beloved pets pain and suffering while reducing the number of emergency calls to the local vet. Here’s to a lovely spring in the garden and up at The Center. Remember that we are always happy to have committed volunteers either inside with the creatures, or outside in the garden. Dog walkers are always welcome! See you soon, I hope!                        


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