Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gardening And Your Pets, "Furry Friends Need Protection", A Guest Blog By Jan Bills From "Two Women and a Hoe"

“You become responsible forever for what you have tamed”.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Hellooo Kitty"

There are two things in life I adore and never tire of:  gardening and the unconditional love of my furry friends!  In honor of National Poison Prevention Week, I was tickled when Caren and Cody asked me to write an article on keeping our pets safe in the gardens.

Did you know that many common plants we bring into our homes and gardens are very toxic to cats and dogs?  As evidenced, cats are notorious for chewing on plants and dogs are notorious for chewing on everything!

As a professional landscape designer, master gardener and owner of Two Women and a Hoe®, it is my duty and privilege to ensure that the plants I recommend for clients with cats and dogs are not only lush and beautiful but pet friendly, too!
Not too long ago my niece had a frightening experience.  Lily, her four pound adorable Chihuahua puppy, chewed a tiny piece of bark from a Sago Palm and nearly died.  I am relieved and delighted to report that after many hours of extensive and expensive treatment, Lily is doing fine but continues regular blood screenings to ensure there is no permanent damage to her liver.  We can only imagine how terrifying an event like that can be!

In an effort to avoid any unfortunate mishaps in the garden this season, following is a partial list of popular plants that are toxic to cats and/or dogs.  If your pet is ever so frisky and has an innocent way of finding trouble, you will want to avoid these plants:
*        Rhododendron
*        Cactus
*        Dieffenbachia
*        Amaryllis
*        Ivy
*        Mistletoe
*        Easter Lily
*        Caladium
*        Azalea
*        Creeping Charlie
*        Sago Palm

Spring has sprung and we are itching to get in the garden!  Before heading to your favorite garden center, please take a moment to visit ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center.  There is an excellent collection of toxic and non-toxic plants listed, and other safety related measures pet owners can take while gardening.
"JGS Kitten"

If you ever suspect your cat or dog has been poisoned, please immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435
Together, let’s pledge to keep our furry friends happy, healthy, and safe this season! 

May all your gardens grow,

Want more Jan?
Her Contact Info Is:

Jan Bills, Owner
Two Women and a Hoe
The Fine Art of Soul to Soil




  1. Aunty Caren,
    We did blog about this, from time to time as my Mama loves gardening too. It's therapeutic, she said. if petting six of us is not enough therapy for her. purrr....meow!

  2. Wonderful article - such important information to keep in mind. Thanks!!

  3. Dear Caren,

    Thank you so much to asked Jan to write this for us. It's really useful for pawrent to concern before they buy the new plants for the garden.

    But I have a weird experience. My garden have a lot of cactus. All been there before I got to know my pawrents. And Before they know the cactus is toxic for pet.

    Lots of cats has been visited my house, Mom said 3 dogs visited as well but all of us are fine. We never get poison from it. I even used to bite our cactus , My mom and my sis was shocked because they didn't expect ! By the time They saw me, I already bite it but I was fine. So I guess may be the one is our garden is ok. But I'm not often get so close to it.

    Dad said we cats might know which one is safe ! But Mom said she will beware before she get the new plants.

    Thank You Again

  4. Thank you, Caren!

    May all your gardens grow,

  5. We had to remove all our plants years ago because Alex would eat them and throw up. Our cousin the vet explained that sometimes cats purposely eat things to make them throw up if they have a "stuborn" hairball.

  6. @Benny & Lily, glad you liked it! Have a great day!

    @Hilary that is interesting info. I never heard that a cat would deliberately eat something to throw up! That is interesting! So Cody deliberately ate some plastic the day before yesterday (cause he threw up)...actually he DID eat it deliberately because he was angry that we banned him from the bedroom!

    @Jan YOU ARE MOST WELCOME! Thank YOU!! You are my gardening EXPERT!!

    @Mr.Puddy that is very interesting info and I am very, very glad that you are ok!! I am going to ask Jan to come back and read your comment and maybe she has information she can tell you about that. I am not a gardening expert so that is why I turned to the PRO!!! I am so glad you are ok Puddy! xoxoxo

    @CindyLu thanks so much! I will be sure that Jan knows! She is the best!

    @Cat-In-Sydney I know a lot of people find gardening to be therapeutic. I wish I had a yard. I am on the 2nd floor of a condo. This year I AM planning on planting some veggies on the balcony though! Hope it goes well!

  7. Great post and reminder to research plants first with kitties and doggies around! Take care

  8. Wonderful article and such important information!

    I just love the title of this:) Two women and a hoe:)

  9. Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing. I have wondered about bring a rosemary plant inside. Now I can check to see if it's okay.

    Thoughts in Progress

  10. Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing. I have wondered about bring a rosemary plant inside. Now I can check to see if it's okay.

    Thoughts in Progress

  11. Great information Caren.
    Glad to know Lily is fine. I am also afraid my turtles might eat something dangerous when i set them free on the front yard, to prevent that,I keep my eyes glued on them.

  12. Thanks for the great info. It's really important to us.
    I've to check whether my garden is safe for Mika and Eva in a minute as I've a naughty and greedy little diva at home : )

  13. This is an excellent article Caren! Thank you! Mommy has bookmarked the ASPCA's site as it is Kozmo's first summer and we don't want him to eat things he should'nt!
    Thanks yous Caren

  14. Very important in formations! Thank You very much for sharing!

  15. That was interesting - fortunately mine have no interest in the plants as such just the birdies
    nesting in the tree at the bottom of our neighbours garden!!
    luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  16. We have had a cactus in the house for years and I haven't touched it. Occasionally I rub against it and worry the peeps. Then again, I don't touch the basil and catnip plants either. Hope Code isn't still exiled. I am cos I attacked Pop last night. BTW, love the post title. heh heh

  17. Excellent article and good to have this reminder as warmer weather comes. I never knew about some of the plants that are poisonous, so thanks for sharing. I don't keep indoor plants anymore for the simple reason kitties like to chew on them.

  18. @Old Kitty, I didn't know a lot of this either and am happy to have a list to check. I got rid of all of my indoor plants except one. Just to be safe!

    @Mario thank you! Jan did a great job, she owns the business and knows her stuff! Much better having an expert talk about their specialty than me just regurgitating what I find online. I only have one indoor plant now too! :)

    @Cathy Nope Cody isn't exiled! I was afraid of what he would do since he was so angry the night before so he was allowed in and only woke us up super early! Ohhh nooo! You can't be attacking your Pop every night! I LOVE the post title too...that is the name of Jan's company, isn't it the BEST??!!

    @Hannah and Lucy so happy you aren't interested in the plants, just stick with the birdies!

    @Amin I am so glad you liked it! Thank you!

    @Cat From Hell-I am so happy that you liked it. I am thrilled that Jan agreed to do it. Yes you have to keep Kozmo safe this summer for sure!

    @Priscilla ohhhhh how you make me laugh the way you describe Eva! "naughty and greedy little diva" OMG how you made me smile!! I am sure your garden is safe! Does Eva like to chew on plants? You have never mentioned it so hopefully you should be ok!

    @Novroz, so glad you liked this! Actually Easter Lilies aren't safe!! Not sure about normal lilies...Jan said she would stop by so hopefully she can answer that question. Yes! Turtles must be kept safe too! :)

    @Mason Canyon I am so happy you liked Jan's post! I am thrilled that she did it. I love it to because since it is in my archives I can alway check back. Thanks much!

    @jen so glad you liked it! The "Two Women And A Hoe" is the name of Jan's company! It is pure genius! The second I saw that I knew she had to be great! :)

  19. Good advice. I'm never sure which plants are truly safe and which aren't, so we don't have any in our house.

  20. Really useful post... thank you for the info! I will definitely be checking back here when I buy new plants. :)

  21. Wonderful tips - I knew most of them, but the sago palm really threw me. Another one that is good to know about is the cocoa mulch that people often use in place of pine bark, etc. Very attractive to pets and of course super toxic.

  22. Thanks so much for this information as I'll be doing a lot of container gardening on my porch and deck this spring.
    Loved the website, "Two Women and A Hoe"

  23. Great, great information! Hey everyone, pay attention!

  24. @Carolyn, thank you!! You are welcome! I am going to let Jan know about all the great comments she is receiving. Thanks so much guys!!! xoxo

    @Brian thank you!! Awwww you are the BEST!

    @Eileen you are welcome! I am going to be doing container gardening too!!! Please let me know how yours is coming along. I am thinking of seeing if I can have Jan help me out! :) Mine is going to be on our balcony. Can't wait to hear about yours!

    @Tucker thanks for the info about the cocoa mulch. I had heard that too. Just like chocolate is toxic so is that! Thanks so much!

    @Pup Fan I am so happy that everyone is enjoying it so much and finding it to be useful! I knew Jan was the person to contact for this! She is the expert!

    @The Whiskeratti, i am like you. I was always nervous with plants inside. Now, as I mentioned I only have one, and neither Cody nor Dakota can get to it.

  25. Great post! My people are always careful of what they put in the yard.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  26. @Oskar thanks!! Hope Jan gets to see that everyone liked it! That is good that your people are careful about what is in the yard. Everyone should be! xoxo

  27. Caren and Cody

    Thank you for inviting Jan to tell us about the dangers plants can present to cats and dogs.

    I have 2 plants now, but they're on a plant pole that no one can get at them...and barely me even to water them.

    But years ago, I had a bookshelf stand with plenty of plants. When we had Snowflake, she would get on the shelves and walk across, knocking the plants to the floor. I thought it was because they were in her way; maybe it was her way of telling me they were bad for her!

    I'll be sure to pass this information on to my blog visitors.

  28. @The Boys and Karen, you are welcome and we are so glad that you liked Jan's post. That is good that your plants are high up and safe, very smart! I like that you thought Snowflake was telling you the plants were bad for her! Maybe she was! Thanks so much for passing this on! ((((hugs))))

  29. Great, informative post! Thank you!

  30. Great post! I always wondered which plants were toxic for animals.