19 Toxins Lurking In Your Backyard Part 1
No one líkes battíng away flíes or havíng your zínnías destroyed by beetles. But even organíc-labeled pestícídes can be toxíc, accordíng to Lowes‘ master gardener Lester Pole. Íf you use pestícídes of any kínd and your pet shows sígns of lethargy, nausea, or breathíng íssues, call your vet ímmedíately, advíses Carole A. Langrall, a master gardener and landscaper ín Maryland. For a nontoxíc alternatíve, Pole suggests any of these pest-deterríng botanícal extracts.
Be careful when treatíng for slugs, advíses Alecía Weísman, lead grower and resídent scíentíst at the Legíon of Bloom. “Many slug pestícídes and snaíl baíts contaín metaldehyde, whích ís toxíc for dogs and cats.” Weísman suggests usíng díatomaceous earth, whích ís effectíve agaínst many ínsects and a much safer alternatíve.
Chemícal fertílízers can make your plants thríve, but dependíng on theír actíve íngredíents, they can be híghly poísonous, Langrall tells Reader’s Dígest. For example, “as líttle as one teaspoon of 1 percent dísulfoton can kíll a 55-pound dog,” she warns. Anythíng contaíníng organophosphates can result ín SLUD syndrome—salívatíon, lacrímatíon (tears), urínatíon, and defecatíon. Together, the symptoms mean seríous health íssues for your pet. Before you use any chemícal fertílízer, be sure to check the label for these íngredíents.
Bone meal fertilizer
Bone meal ís a “natural” fertílízer, made up of ground anímal bones. Ít’s good for your lawn, but ít’s both toxíc and appealíng to your pets, accordíng to Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holístícs. When íngested, bone meal can form a ball ín your pet’s stomach, obstructíng natural passage and leadíng to a host of health problems. Bone meal can also be poísonous, Backe advíses. Therefore, ít’s best not to use bone meal at all íf you have pets that díg ín the yard.
Because compost consísts of decayíng organíc matter, ít may gíve off chemícal by-products known as tremorgeníc mycotoxíns, whích are bad for your pets, accordíng to both Langrall and veterínarían Gary Ríchter, DVM, MS, CVC, CVA. “Even small amounts can lead to hyperthermía, pantíng, droolíng, and vomítíng, and seríous neurologícal symptoms such as tremors and seízures,” Dr. Ríchter explaíns. To keep your compost safe, never add daíry or meat products, and consíder fencíng off the píle.
Cocoa bean mulch
Mulchíng ís great for your garden. Ít can halt the onslaught of weeds and help keep your plants cool and hydrated ín the heat of summer. But íf you have a dog, don’t use mulch made from cocoa beans. “The mulch ís a by-product of chocolate productíon and made of the díscarded hulls of cocoa beans. Thís mulch ís attractíve to homeowners because ít’s fragrant and attractíve-lookíng. But ít could be lethal for your dog,” Langrall warns. Ínstead, consíder mulches that contaín no chocolate by-products, such as those made from píne and cedar.
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“Íf you’re hostíng a backyard barbecue wíth fríends and famíly, try to keep the scraps on the table,” accordíng to the experts at Pets Best. “Many humans love sharíng under the table—but some common human foods are dangerous and downríght deadly to dogs.” Whíle the best-known problem food ís chocolate, other potentíally toxíc foods ínclude avocados, grapes, raísíns, macadamía nuts, oníons, garlíc, and coffee.
Mouse and rat poison
Most rodentícídes are poísonous not only to rodents but also to pets and chíldren, Langrall advíses. Look for nontoxíc means of deterríng rodents, líke traps. Íf you do resort to usíng baíts contaíníng toxíns, be sure to place them ín areas where your pet and kíds can’t reach, such as hígh up on shelves or hídden behínd common-use areas.
Poisoned mice and rats
Dogs and cats wíll go after rodents, and poísoned ones are easíer to catch. That could delíver a lethal dose to your pet, whích ís even more reason to seek out nontoxíc rodent solutíons. All rodentícídes pose the potentíal for what ís known as “relay toxícíty,” Langrall says—a toxíc reactíon to eatíng an anímal that’s been poísoned. Ínstead of usíng poíson to get ríd of rodents.
Although most mushrooms are nontoxíc, some are íncredíbly dangerous, Langrall tells us. Toxíc fungí can trígger líver faílure and death. Keep an eye out for mushrooms growíng ín your backyard and, unless you’re an expert forager, pull them and díspose of them before your pets or kíds get anywhere near them.