Poisonous Yard Items

Feb 23, 2024   ComfortAtHomePetServices   Health & Wellness

Spring is almost here!  That means our pets will be spending much more time outside running, playing, burning off energy and laying in the sun. While that means more fun, it also means more precautions as the outdoors can also pose a threat to our pets in the form of poisonous outdoor dangers. 

Cocoa Mulch is also known as ‘Cocoa Bean Mulch' or ‘Cocoa Shell Mulch' is often used in home gardens, around trees and in yards.  As the name states, this mulch contains cocoa powder and chocolate byproducts.  As most pet parents know, chocolate and cocoa are extremely toxic to our pets. This mulch, made with ground cocoa bean shells, can be extremely dangerous and even fatal if eaten. 

While some mushrooms are edible, others are highly toxic, and it's often difficult to tell which is which. During Spring, and in areas of the yard that remain moist in the summer months, mushrooms will grow. These mushrooms can be highly toxic and poisonous to our pets and even a small amount can lead to permanent organ damage and death.  Be aware of mulch that is made with a mushroom base, as just like the coca mulch, this type of mulch can be extremely toxic to pets.

Lawn chemicals and fertilizers can contain poisonous chemicals that are toxic to pets. These chemicals are not only dangerous when eaten, through licking or eating grass, but trace amounts can remain on a pet's skin and be ingested through a pet licking themselves hours later or absorbed through their paw pad. Many lawn companies will tell you the yard will be pet safe in 2 hours, but the chemicals linger on the grass for at least 48 hours, even after the grass is dry. Unless a company is using non-toxic, organic fertilizers, all chemicals are dangerous to pets. 

Chemical weed killers can pose many dangers to pets by eating the grass and flowers around it, rainwater washing the chemicals off and a pet drinking the water and if a pet gets into the chemical bottle of weed killer. If you must use a weed killer, try to find a homemade or organic recipe that won't put your pets at risk. 

As pretty as they can be, many plants used in home flower gardens are toxic to our pets. These plants include, 




Day lily

Easter lily 

English Ivy


Lily of the valley 



Thorn apple 

Tiger lily




Bait traps used to curb the rat and mouse population use anti-coagulants that cause uncontrolled bleeding when ingested. These types of traps are designed to be attractive to animals and often come in pellet form, which resembles pet food. In addition to being dangerous themselves, outdoor cats or cats that spend equal time indoors and outdoors, could inadvertently be poisoned themselves by catching a mouse or rat that has ingested the poison. Even small amount of poison from these baits can be fatal. Putting traps up high doesn't always stop pets from reaching them, especially cats, therefore, homes with pets are highly advised to use more humane methods of trapping pests. 

A lesser-known yard danger is frogs and toads. As a defense mechanism, some frogs and toads will secrete a toxin through their skin that is potentially deadly to our pets.  Not all frogs and toads are dangerous, with the deadliest being Colorado River Toad and the Marine Toad, but it's always best to err on the side of caution! If a pet has picked up a frog or toad with their mouth, completely and thoroughly rinse their mouth out with water to be safe. 

In the warmer months, snakes will begin coming out to sun themselves and may appear in your yard. Some snakes, like the garter snake are harmless to both humans and pets, but others like copperheads, rattle snakes, and water moccasins are extremely venomous. Be very aware if you have wood piles or creeks near your home, as these can be preferred hiding places for snakes. 

Spring and summer yards can pose a minefield of dangers for our pets but thankfully these dangers can also be easily avoided or safer substitutes can be made to reduce the risk of poisoning and toxicity to our pets. 

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