Do You Know All the Hidden Backyard Dangers to Your Pet?

Ty yardWe all would like to think that our yards are a safe haven for our pets. But the potential for hidden or little known dangers can be high. For example, did you know that green tomatoes can make your dog sick or that a certain kind of mulch is not only attractive to your dog, but very dangerous as well? Learn about these and other potential dangers in the list below.

Cocoa Mulch

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and can be dangerous to cats as well. Garden mulch made from cocoa bean shells is marketed as being environmentally friendly, but it smells like chocolate, which will attract your dog, and it is particularly toxic to them. While the smell may wear off over time, decreasing the likelihood that your pet will eat it, the mulch remains poisonous. Learn more at the Saturday Evening Post and pay attention to the type of mulch that you put in your yard. If you have pets, you will want to avoid cocoa mulch.

Sago Palm Seeds

I recently learned about the dangers of palm seeds after a corgi that I follow on Facebook ingested one and had to undergo surgery to remove it. Used as an ornamental plant in warm climates, all parts of the sago palm are poisonous to dogs, but the seeds are particularly so. Only 50% of dogs who ingest sago palm survive, even with veterinary treatment. Other palm seeds are dangerous as well, as they can become lodged in the animal’s intestine, which is what happened to my Facebook friend. Fortunately he has fully recovered! Learn more at the Pet Poison Helpline.

Pesticides and Fertilizers

Whenever chemicals are used in the yard, it is logical that there could be a danger to pets. Pesticides can be dangerous even in small amounts. Also be particularly careful about fertilizers containing blood meal, bone meal, feather meal, or iron. These can be tasty to your pets, but can cause obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe pancreatitis or iron poisoning. Learn more at the Pet Poison Helpline.


Numerous ornamental and garden plants can be poisonous to your pet. Lilly of the Valley and Fall Crocuses can be very dangerous to pets, and various lilies can harm your cat. Learn more at the Pet Poison Helpline. To learn about other dangerous plants, you can see a good sized list at Home and Garden TV. Some plants will not necessarily cause lasting harm to your pet, but might make him or her vomit or otherwise feel briefly sick. For example, when my corgi Eve got a hold of a green tomato once, she was sick for a couple of hours.

Slug Bait and Rodent Poison

Slug and snail baits are are highly poisonous to both dogs and cats and, if ingested, can be fatal without prompt veterinary attention. Learn more that the Pet Poison Helpline. Meanwhile, not only is rat poison also toxic to your pets, they can also become ill if they eat a rodent that has ingested the poison. Pets can also be injured by traps meant for rodents or other animals. Read more at


Are you a gardener? If so, you may have your own compost pile. But that compost that is so good for your plants can be toxic to pets. Compost often contains molds that can quickly cause sickness. Keep your compost in an area that is not accessible to your pets. Learn more at the Pet Poison Helpline.

Friends, Neighbors, and Meter Readers

This last one comes from personal experience. One of the scariest things that has happened to me was when the meter reader left the back gate ajar. I didn’t know it until my dogs had escaped and ran down the street. Fortunately my corgi Ty returned when called, but I had to chase down my lab Molly several blocks away. Friends and neighbors may not realize how easy it is for a dog to slip by them and run down the street, and meter readers don’t always shut the gate. Watch to be sure that the fenced yard actually remains fenced in.

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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