Spring Garden: Hidden Garden Dangers for Your Dog



I don’t know about you, but when the first warm days of spring start to arrive, I can’t wait to go outside. The garden calls and I am ready to put away the old and start fresh with wonderful spring blooms. However, with the spring garden comes danger for my dogs. For that reason, I make sure to keep my dogs safe while enjoying all the benefits of gardening.

Plant Dangers

When it comes to hidden dangers in the garden, many people think of plants first. And they are right to think of them. Spring gardens can have a number of dangerous plants that seem innocent at first glance.

Although I don’t recommend doing away with the plants altogether, there are a few tips that I suggest for dog owners.

  • Only plant in the front yard: Keep your spring blooms in the front yard or in a yard the dog does not have common access to.
  • Make flowerbeds hard to reach: Raised flowerbeds are perfect for spring blooms. It prevents your dog from getting at the plants and reduces the risk for your dog.
  • Training: Many dogs can be trained to ignore flowerbeds; however, this isn’t a foolproof plan if the dog is in the yard by himself.
  • Monitor your dog: Finally, you can monitor your dog when he is in the yard. This keeps him from really getting into plants but it isn’t always something you can do.


Plants That Present a Risk

If you are interested in avoiding certain blooms, then this is the list to read. Before I do list them, it is important to realize that for some, it is the actual bulb that is toxic to your dog. If you can prevent your dog from eating the bulb, the plants can be okay. But again, if in doubt, just avoid the plant altogether.


Tulips are toxic to dogs since they contain lactones, which dogs are allergic to. Overall, when a dog eats a tulip or tulip bulb, an irritation begins in the mouth and throat.

Symptoms a dog will experience after eating a tulip are:

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate

When you suspect tulip poisoning, contact your veterinarian. Often, treatment can be done at home; however, if the dog has consumed large amounts, it may require overnight care at your veterinarian’s office.


Containing similar allergens as tulips, hyacinths produce the same type of symptoms in dogs as a tulip does, including:

  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate

As with the tulip, treatment can require medical care. Always contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has eaten a hyacinth.


Lily of the Valley

I love lily of the valley but it is one spring bloom that I avoid in my garden. The plant contains cardiac glycosides, which are extremely toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of lily of the valley poisoning are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • Seizures
  • Slower Heart Rate

It is imperative that you seek medical help for your dog if you suspect that he consumed lily of the valley. Treatment may be induced vomiting and medications through intravenous at the vet’s office.


If there was a flower that defines spring for me, it is definitely the daffodil. When I see them being sold in stores in early March, I know that spring is just around the corner. However, daffodils can be quite toxic for dogs and owners should be wary of them.

The daffodil contains lycorine, which is a toxin for dogs. Symptoms of daffodil include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • Respiratory depression

Dogs that consume daffodils should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

While I have listed four plants, other spring garden plants that are toxic to your dog are:

  • Lilies
  • Sago Palms
  • Oleander
  • Buttercups
  • Foxglove
  • Begonias 
  • Rhododendrons
  • Azaleas
  • Jimson Weeds


Other Spring Garden Risks

In addition to plants, the spring garden has a few other hidden dangers that we should discuss. Knowing the dangers will help prevent an accident for your dog.


This also includes herbicides and insecticides. Pesticides present a significant health risk to your dog. While some areas have banned the use of these products, there are still many used around the country.

To prevent accidental poisoning, follow these spring garden tips:

  • Store the pesticides and chemicals out of reach: Keep them off the ground and in a place the dog has no access to. This will keep them from accidentally eating the pesticides.
  • Keep dogs inside while spraying: Whenever you plan to spray your garden, keep your dog inside. This helps prevent him from inhaling the spray.
  • Avoid the area with your dog: Finally, avoid the area with your dog for a few days to a week after you have sprayed. This will ensure that the dog has no chance of ingesting the pesticide.


With all the spring rain, mushrooms often sprout in the spring garden. Most mushrooms are toxic to dogs but that doesn’t prevent them from eating them.

During the warm and wet months, do a daily sweep of your yard before your dog gets to play outside. Remove any mushrooms you find growing in the yard. This will keep your dog safe and has the added bonus of keeping your garden looking great.


Grass Seed

We don’t often think of grass seed as posing a danger but it can. Many types of grass seed are quite sharp and can work their way into a footpad like a sliver.

Although this may just seem like a small irritation, grass seeds under the skin can lead to an infection or even an abscess, which can be quite painful for your dog.


Finally, fertilizers, just like pesticides, can be toxic to dogs if they ingest it. This includes blood meal and bone meal along with chemically manufactured fertilizers.

Never spray a fertilizer around your dog and make sure they don’t have access to the fertilizers. Keep them up and stored in a room your dog doesn’t have access to.

By understanding the dangers a spring garden, you can protect your dog while enjoying your backyard. Spring gardens can be a beautiful place for everyone in the family, including your dog, but it takes a little bit of planning to ensure it is a safe place as well.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact your vet or the pet poison helpline