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Spring has finally arrived and with the longer days and warmer weather comes the desire to spruce up our outdoor space.  It is important to keep in mind that many popular plants, flowers and gardening products can be toxic to our pets.  Here are some helpful tips to keep your pets safe as you beautify your surroundings.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, following are the most poisonous plants to our pets:

• Autumn Crocus
• Azaleas
• Cyclamen
• Daffodils
• Diffenbachia (leaves and stems)
• Hyacinths (especially bulbs)
• Kalanchoe (also vase water is toxic)
• Lilies (Tiger, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Snow can be fatal to cats while others may cause milder symptoms)
• Oleander (also smoke from burning branches and water in vase)
• Sago Palm (seeds most deadly)
• Tulips (especially bulbs)

If ingested, these plants vary in their ability to injure our pets. Check out the Pet Poison Hotline’s website for information about the most common springtime plants and the symptoms they can cause. If you think your pet has ingested something toxic in your garden, seek help from a medical professional right away.

In addition to plants, there are plenty of other yard and garden ingredients to avoid. The most common hazards include:

• Blood meal. Is dried, ground, and flash-frozen blood and contains 12 percent nitrogen. While it is a great organic fertilizer, if ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
• Bone meal. Ingested bone meal can form a large, cement-like ball in the stomach that blocks the movement of food.
• Iron. Is commonly added to fertilizers, and can result in iron toxicity and may cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and potential cardiac and liver effects.
• Pesticides/insecticides. Most pesticides or insecticides (typically those that come in a spray can) are basic irritants to pets and are usually not a huge concern unless a pet’s symptoms become persistent.
• Plant fertilizers. Some fertilizers contain disulfoton or other organophosphates. As little as 1 teaspoon of 1 percent disulfoton can kill a 55-pound dog, so be careful!
• Cocoa mulch. This aromatic mulch is made from the shells of cocoa beans and can be extremely toxic to curious dogs because it often contains both theobromine and caffeine, which are the same ingredients that make chocolate off-limits to pups.

If you suspect your pet has ingested something that is toxic, contact your veterinary clinic or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for advice. You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) for help in determining if a toxic exposure has occurred and what you may be able to do at home to manage your pet or if you should seek veterinary care. Charges apply for 24/7 telephone consultation – currently $59 for the Pet Poison Helpline and $65 for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Wishing you and your pets a safe and beautiful spring!