Editorial

Pets put at risk by poisonous gardens

Who’d grow plants that are toxic to pets? Last week, insurance company MORE TH>N announced the opening of its Poisonous Pawtanical Garden. This terrifying area in the grounds of the Horniman Museum is off limits for companion animals. 34 of the items included in the garden are considered potentially poisonous.

MORE TH>N hopes to raise awareness of potential dangers to pets after research found 8 percent of dogs and cats in Britain have ingested poisonous plants. 43 percent of these needed urgent veterinary attention and, tragically, 15 percent died. 31 percent of the 2,000 cat and dog owners to take part in the survey had no idea whether plants in their garden could be harmful.

The Poisonous Pawtanical Garden was designed by RHS Chelsea gold medal-winner Ian Drummond and Veterinarian Robert White-Adams. TV gardener Charlie Dimmock is acting as the face of the campaign. She said: ‘The MORE TH>N Poisonous Pawtanical Garden isn’t about telling pet owners to go around uprooting their flower beds – it’s a way to help them make more informed choices when they design their gardens or buy new plants for their home as well as being more aware of the garden plants they already have.

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‘There are many plants and flowers that aren’t toxic to pets and we’ll be offering visitors to the garden information and advice on safe plants for pets. With this advice we can hopefully reduce the number of pets that are accidentally poisoned while keeping Britain’s gardens colourful and interesting.’

Worryingly, MORE THA>N’s survey also found that 71 percent of pet owners cannot identify any symptoms of poisoning for cats and dogs. Though toys and equipment aimed at pets are carefully tested, many gardens are not designed with pets’ safety in mind.

Tomato plants, clematis and wisteria are just a few of the popular plants that should not be ingested by animals. Members of the trade should encourage owners to seek urgent veterinary attention if they fear pets may have ingested toxic plant material.

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