The Mindful Merchant

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Duke almost died May 13, 2010

Filed under: gardening,heath and safety,pets,toxic — MindfulMerchant @ 1:18 am


Our neighbour had to rush his dog to emergency vet clinic last weekend and good thing he did – Sir Duke almost died. The crazy thing is that he is a young, healthy strapping fella.  He got terribly ill from picking up a stick in the park, carrying it home and chewing it in his backyard. The stick was piece of a broken branch from an apple tree. Duke is what I call a stick dog.  He’s always got one hanging out the side of his mouth. I think he was a smoker in a past life.  Our poor neighbour feels terrible. He did not know all parts of an apple tree is toxic to dogs. I had no idea either.  Did you?


somerser_apple_trees Yesterday I took our pets for their annual shots and I mentioned the stick incident to the Veterinarian. She explained most gardens are full of multiple hazards…some of them I knew about…some were a surprise. Since it’s spring and we are all getting dirty in our gardens I thought I would list a few common hazards that might be lurking in your garden.


If you have a young puppy, a dog that loves digging/chewing or you were entrusted to do some pet sitting… keep them away from ingesting:


– All parts of Apple and Cherry Trees are toxic to dogs (stems, leaves and seeds)

– Azaleas and Rhododendrons

– Privet Hedge

– Clematis Vines

– Hosta

– Red Maple Trees (the leaves are toxic)

– Rhubarb

– Garlic


For a more detailed list and description of symptoms, the American Kennel Club has a helpful sheet outlining many more potential dangers. Not sure what some of these trees and plants look like?  You can quickly identify them using a  Tree Study website or Better Homes and Gardens plant identification database.


If you have an outdoor cat or your neighbours have outdoor cats that like to visit your yard…be careful…


Hostas – Like dogs, cats are in danger if they ingest Apple & Cherry Trees, Garlic, and Rhubarb. Also, watch out for leeks, tomato plants, and onions in your garden since they are also poisonous to cats.

– Plants in the lily family are toxic like Day Lilies and Lilly of the valley.

– Poisonous spring bulbs include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, iris and crocus.

– Like dogs, Clematis and Hostas can be deadly as well as a many other common garden plants like Geranium, Ivy, Daisies etc.


For a longer list of poisonous indoor and outdoor plants, here is another helpful Vet information website.


Our little garden is full of dangers to cats and dogs.  Yikes.  The Vet told me different plants cause different symptoms in pets, from diarrhea, shock, vomiting, weakness, panting, swelling and even death.  Try to get medical help quickly if you suspect your pet ingested a poisonous plant.


I hope you have a fun and safe summer with your furry four legged friends!





7 Responses to “Duke almost died”

  1. Absolutely NO idea! My dog is also a stick chewer. And yes we have an apple/cherry orchard in the corner of the property. And red maple trees. And we have garlic, rhubarb, clematis, hostas. Oh year, and cats. And tomatoes, leeks, onions, spring bulbs. Who knew my little garden paradise was a veritable death trap!

    On the other hand, the dog is now 6 and the cats are 12 and 2, and so far, still alive. But it’s good to know what to watch for if they do seem to get sick. Thanks Laura.

    • Our pets were chewers when they were really young…I think many outgrow it or intuitivley know not to eat the wrong stuff? I was freaked out when the vet told me though…

  2. Skylark Says:

    Interesting… Logan who munches everything and anything including dandelions, sticks and flowers was sick for about a week recently for no apparent reason. I suspected he picked up something from the Canada Goose Poop in the park but I never considered flora. Thanks for the heads up… I’ll look into that more closely.

  3. XUP Says:

    Dogs like to eat poop because it smells and tastes good to them and some of it, like cat poop, has lots of protein in it. Howver, they can also get parasites & heartworm from it, so it’s not a good idea. It’s interesting about the garlic being toxic because a lot of “natural remedy” sites advise feeding your pets garlic to help keep fleas off them. I think it’s really odd that with all the self-preservationist instincts animals have that they would eat stuff that could kill them. Man-made things like anti-freeze I can understand since they would have no genetic experience with that, but apple trees?

    • My husband reminded me his Collie ate apples and stems from their backyard tree and became terribly ill. I’m guessing dogs and cats must have instincts about avoiding harmful plants/trees or more people would be aware of the dangerous stuff.

  4. Pauline Says:

    There are so many plants/fruits/veggies that can make animals sick! It’s pretty scary! It can be difficult to keep them from bad stuff all the time. ie. When you take your dog for a walk, they tend to hoover whatever they come across before you even know it!

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