GARDENING: Beware of plants which could poison your pets

The MORE TH>N Poisonous Pawtanical Garden, the world's most poisonous garden to cats and dogs, is part of a new awareness-raising campaign.
The MORE TH>N Poisonous Pawtanical Garden, the world's most poisonous garden to cats and dogs, is part of a new awareness-raising campaign.

THIS stunning show garden looks like a place of quiet serenity – but it’s made entirely with plants poisonous to cats and dogs.

The MORE TH>N Poisonous Pawtanical Garden is part of the insurer’s campaign to raise awareness of the issue of pets being poisoned by common household plants and flowers.

According to research with 2,000 owners, eight per cent of canines and felines in Britain have ingested poisonous plants or flowers. Of those, 43 per cent needed urgent veterinary care, while 15 per cent died.

Far from being rare and exotic botanical specimens, all the plants can be found in any home garden, public park or horticultural centre.

The campaigning is asking for plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labelling signalling if their items are safe or harmful to cats and dogs.

There is a widespread ignorance of the perils gardens pose to animals, with one in every three pet owners (31 per cent) polled admitting they have no idea if the plants and flowers in their gardens are toxic.

The same number were unaware that plants could be poisonous to pets, while 71 per cent cannot identify any of the symptoms of poisoning in their cat or dog.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of pet owners are not only aware that their garden houses poisonous plants, but are prepared to risk their cat or dog won’t eat them so they can have a pretty garden.

The garden was created as part of the Chelsea Fringe in collaboration with vet Robert White-Adams, designer Ian Drummond, and campaign ambassador Charlie Dimmock.

For further information on toxic and non­toxic plants and pets, visit­poisonous­garden.


LIST of plants and flowers in The Poisonous Pawtanical Garden (by no means the only poisonous plants commonly available):

Asparagus fern, Begonia, Buxus pyramiden, Calla lily, cherry laurel, Clematis, Cordyline, Chrysanthemum, daisy, Dahlia, Delphinium, elderberry, Eucalyptus, fern, foxglove, Geranium, grape plant, ivy, hosta, Hydrangea, Asiatic lilies, privet, Lobelia, lupin, marigold, Nerium, Oleander, poppy, peony, yew, tomato, Verbena, Wisteria.


IT’S not just plants and flowers you need to consider when planning a safe garden for your cat or dog, the following can also prove hazardous:

ACORNS AND CONKERS: Toxic if eaten.

ALGAE: Toxic freshwater algae (usually blue­green in colour, but sometimes colourless) has been known to poison animals.

BEE AND WASP STINGS: These can be especially problematic if they sting inside the mouth.

COCOA MULCH: Made of cocoa bean shell – a by­product of the chocolate industry – and harmful if eaten by dogs.

FERTILISER, INSECTICIDES AND PESTICIDES: If consumed, fertiliser can give your cat or dog a stomach upset and may result in life­threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Allow an appropriate time from use before allowing your animal in the garden.


CONTACT your vet immediately if you think your pet has eaten any toxic plants, flowers, or substances.

Take along samples of the plant ­ or preferably any identification label, tag or pot information.

General symptoms of poisoning: Oral or skin irritation, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, rapid breathing, fever, drooling, coma, heart failure, depression, excitability or lethargy, tremors/seizures, increased thirst, dilated pupils, dizziness/loss of balance, disorientation.