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How to pet proof your garden!

The kiwi summer is in full swing, we all love getting outside with our pet at home, relaxing and playing in the garden. Dogs and cats are inquisitive and curious critters, sniffing and exploring their environment.

Make sure they stay safe in your garden by avoiding these 9 common dangers:

Slug bait ingestion

Metaldehyde toxicity is from slug bait ingestion, it is a common poisoning that we see in dogs.

The pellets are formulated in dyed blue/green pellets with bran and molasses, making it extremely tasty and results in consumption of large quantities by dogs.

Slug bait once ingested, can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, ataxia (wobbly walking), tremoring, seizures and even death.

It is true emergency so if you suspect your pet has eaten any contact a vet as soon as possible.

Ant bait

Similar to slug bait, ant baits are very attractive as they contain a sweet attractant such as honey or sugar to encourage ants to eat the poison.

Most of these ant baits in New Zealand contain boron which is considered safe in small amounts, however if consumed in large amounts it can cause severe gastroenteritis and kidney failure.

Fiprinol is a neurotoxin, and commonly found in ant baits, it usually isn’t at doses high enough to harm dogs and cats, however rabbits are highly susceptible to it, so any contact is considered harmful.

Pyrethroids are more commonly found in insecticide sprays and if consumed can cause neurotoxicity. Cats are extremely sensitive to pyrethroids, a small exposure can be very harmful.


Most fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. When fertilizers also contain herbicide, pesticide or fungicides it increases the risk of poisoning.

Signs of a small ingestion include mild vomiting or diarrhoea, however large consumption can cause severe chemical poisoning.


Compost is great for your plants, but bad news for our pets!

Compost can contain harmful moulds and mycotoxins from degrading materials, which if consumed by our pets can cause incoordination, agitation, severe tremoring, seizures, vomiting, and diarrohea. Ensure that rubbish and compost is out of reach.

Poisonous plants

Ensure to remove and avoid sowing plants that are toxic to your pet.

Insects sting

Be prepared for insect encounters as a bountiful garden will undoubtedly mean bees and wasps. Insect stings are painful and can cause itching, red skin swellings (hives), severe swelling, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

The severity can vary depending on where the sting was.

If systemic anaphylaxis occurs, it may result in collapse, and difficulty breathing. Contact a veterinarian immediately.

Uncovered water sources

Ensure to cover or limit access to all spa and swimming pools or ponds when not in use to avoid your pet accidentally getting trapped and risking aspiration of water, or drowning.

Extreme sun exposure

The strong summer sun is harmful to our pets as well as ourselves. Ensure lots of shade is available for your pet to keep cool.

Avoid using tools with your pet around, keep them locked away safely

If some garden maintenance is in order and you need to use electrical appliances such as the lawn mower or weed eater keep your pet safely inside your home.

This will avoid accidental injury if they get to close. Due to the high speed and force of the blades on these machines, the damage can be very severe.

Sharp tools like rakes and pitch forks can cause nasty wounds and punctures so locking equipment away after use is always a good idea.

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