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It’s always a good idea to give your dog some outdoor time each day to let them do their business and get some exercise in the fresh air. But did you know that your lawn could actually pose several dangers to your dog? Keep an eye out for these seven common lawn hazards so you can make sure they don’t harm your pet. 

Chemical Treatments 

There are two primary types of chemical treatments that you might use on your yard — chemicals for your lawn and pesticides to keep bugs or rodents away. Both types can be equally dangerous for your dog.   

Lawn treatments such as weed killers or fertilizer to make your grass grow may be toxic to dogs. Additionally, your dog might be bringing those dangerous chemicals inside to you and your kids. After you get your lawn sprayed, keep your dog off of it for a few days. If you can, take him or her on a leash down the road to use the bathroom somewhere else. You can choose to go with organic lawn care, too.  

Pesticides can harm your dog, too — especially insecticides and snail bait.2 Do some reading to learn which pesticide ingredients you should avoid and which ones are safe. And just like with herbicides, don’t let your dog on your lawn for a couple of days after pesticides have been sprayed. It’s also important to pick up any dog toys or feeding bowls that are in your yard before the yard is sprayed. 

Before you use any chemicals on your lawn, be sure to consult your vet for pet safe options. 

Mulch

Mulch that’s made of cocoa bean shells could potentially be toxic to your dog. Additionally, mulch might harbor dangerous pesticides or mold — and large pieces of mold could splinter and injure your dog’s mouth or throat. If possible, use a non-toxic substance like rubber mulch or pine needles in your yard instead.

Be sure to consult with your vet to learn about safe mulch options if you have a furry family member that will be enjoying the outdoor space.

Sticks

Sticks might not seem like a danger. In fact, you might encourage your dog to fetch the sticks lying around your yard. And that’s okay — playing fetch with sticks is generally safe! But if your dog takes the stick off somewhere to begin chewing on it, redirect your pet’s attention somewhere else.

You don’t want a small piece of wood to splinter off and get stuck in your dog’s throat. Splinters also have the potential to cause an intestinal blockage if your dog swallows a little piece of wood. Save the sticks for supervised playtime and provide your dog with other safe chew toys instead. 

Mushrooms

During rainy times of the year, you might see little mushrooms popping up all over your yard. They might look cute, but if your dog decides they look like food things can get bad fast. Mushrooms can cause the following types of toxicity:

  • Gastrointestinal upset: if ingested, these can cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms: these cause behavioral changes and weakness, requiring hospitalization for your dog
  • Cyclopeptides: this mushroom can be deadly if ingested by your furry friend
  • Hydrazine: mushrooms with hydrazine toxins cause liver necrosis within a few hours — immediate treatment is important 
  • Isoxazoles: commonly requires a pets stomach to be pumped immediately if ingested
  • Muscarinic: muscarinic toxins cause symptoms such as salivation, uncontrolled urination, and gastrointestinal distress - if ingested, your pet must get to the vet for treatment quickly

It can sometimes be difficult to accurately identify different types of mushrooms at first glance. Play it safe by picking all mushrooms in your yard, regardless of whether they appear toxic or not. Then remember to wash your hands before touching your face.

Toads

Does your yard have little visitors like toads in the evening? Your dog might be ready to make friends — but don’t count on the toad feeling the same way.

Several species of toads secrete a toxic substance when they feel threatened. If your dog ingests that substance, it might not survive. Keep an eye on your dog when you let it out at night so you can steer him or her away from any toads that might be around. Moreover, if you are seeing toads in your yard, that could mean there is a small body of water nearby.  In that case, be sure to consider the ways you keep your pup safe from toxic algae blooms.

Lawn Tools and Toys 

Make sure you pick up all of your garden tools and remind your kids to pick up their toys before coming inside. It’s especially important to not leave any tools with sharp edges (such as a rake or hedge trimmers) lying in the grass. And if your children have toys with small detachable parts, put those away so they don’t become a choking hazard. 

Flowers 

Flowers are a great way to spruce up your lawn and give your house more curb appeal. They also smell great! But did you know that many types of flowers are poisonous to dogs? According to The Kennel Club, there are many flowers and plans that are poisonous to dogs.

Here are a few examples that are commonly poisonous to dogs:

  • Azalea
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Day lilies
  • Delphiniums
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy
  • Morning glory
  • Rhododendron
  • Sweet pea
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Wisteria

Before you add any flowers or plants to your yard, run a quick Internet search to ensure that the plants you have in mind aren’t toxic should your dog take a bite.  Or, you can check out our article on which flowers are toxic for your dog.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

1 Clean Air Lawn Care: Lawn pesticides and pets, July 11 2019, Emily Reeves 

2 Pet Care RX: How to avoid insecticide poisoning in dogs and cats, February 5, Sora Wondra

3 Family Handyman: Is mulch safe for dogs to eat?, June 18 2020, Rosie Wolf Williams 

4 AKC: Sticks and stones: Can they hurt dogs?, June 6 2019, Denise Flaim 

5 Pet Poison Helpline: Mushrooms, Jo Marshall

6 VCA Animal Hospital: Toad poisoning in dogs, Rania Gollakner  

7 The Kennel Club: House and garden plants poisonous to dogs