Don't eat the daffodils!
Poison-proof your garden with pet-friendly plants
Noxious plants sold in Alaska
Chokecherry, leaves and pits
Daffodil (even the moose stay away from these!)
Day lilies (toxic to cats, non-toxic to dogs)
Delphinium (harmful if eaten in quantity)
Elderberry, all except the berries are poisonous
Foxglove, leaves and seeds
Lily of the valley
Lily (harmful if eaten in quantity)
Lupine, primarily the seeds
Source: Inspiring Spaces Alaska
Lots of pets love to chew on plants. But sometimes the plants bite back. Many everyday garden plants are toxic to pets if ingested, causing reactions that range from mild nausea to death. Sometimes all it takes is a little bite to lead to an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Since we want our pets to share the garden with us, it makes sense to poison-proof the area by selecting pet-friendly plants, advises Tania Krawchenko of Inspiring Spaces Alaska. "I always refer to my lists of toxic plantings when designing a yard with animals or children. It may surprise many people how many plants in our backyards are poisonous – and worse it may surprise your pets."
Some plants are only toxic to certain animal species. For example, all lilies pose a serious danger to cats, yet certain varieties can be tolerated by dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits and other pets. "Asiatic day lilies, which are zoned for Alaska, can cause kidney failure in cats specifically," notes Tania.
Many plants found in Alaska backyards can be highly toxic to all pets if eaten. For example, rhubarb leaves can cause kidney failure, and monkshood, found all across Alaska, contains alkaloids that can paralyze the nerves and lower body temperature and blood pressure. Foxglove, a beautiful plant that many gardeners use to add height to their gardens, is one of several cardiotoxic plants that can cause cardiac arrest.
There may be ways that a pet owner can train their pets to avoid certain areas where there are poisonous plants. Barriers are another option. If you want foxgloves in your garden, for example, consider a fenced-in run for your dog. However, the safest method is to remove the plants from your pet's home and yard.
The above list of poisonous plants is not all-inclusive. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has an online search tool that allows gardeners to hunt for plants that are toxic (as well as non-toxic) to your pets, including dogs, cats and horses. (See www.aspca.org/toxicplants.)
There are, however, a huge number of non-toxic plants from which to choose to create a thoroughly enjoyable garden for both you and your pet. If you are not sure about a plant's potential for toxicity, ask your veterinarian, or the local plant nursery, before bringing such plants home.