Summertime means more time outdoors and, hopefully, lots of play time for you and your pets. But beware of common yard and garden substances that can be hazardous to animals who eat them.

“Many of the plants in our gardens and the products we use to care for them can cause intestinal upset and other medical complications in dogs and cats,” says RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “With summer upon us, we’ll be spending more time outdoors and must make sure our pets don’t eat these dangerous and potentially lethal substances.”

Prevent your pets from “dining out” on the following potentially toxic substances:

– Azaleas
– Clematis
– Daffodils
– Gladiolas
– Hibiscus
– Hydrangea
– Irises
– Lilies
– Morning glories
– Oleander
– Rhododendron
– Tulips
– Wisteria
Gardening & Yard Items– Antifreeze
– Cacao bean mulch
– Citronella candles
– Fertilizers
– Fly bait containing methomyl
– Insecticides
– Insect repellent containing DEET
– Rat bait
– Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde or methiocarb
– Sunscreen products not specifically for animals
– Pool treatment supplies
– Weed killers

* This list is not comprehensive but represents some of the most common plants.

Rat bait, which causes bleeding, and snail/slug bait, which causes violent seizures and elevated body temperature, are the two most life-threatening substances. Antifreeze, while not typically considered a gardening substance, can cause severe kidney failure and even small amounts can be fatal.

“Even the most well-behaved pets can get into things that are not intended to be eaten,” says former RedRover board member Armaiti May, DVM. “Ideally, pet guardians should avoid using any potentially toxic substances. Otherwise, these items should be placed in areas inaccessible to animals.”

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, or if he or she is exhibiting symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy or excessive thirst, call your veterinarian immediately. Please see more summer safety tips below.


More Pet Summer Safety Tips

  • Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program and to test your pets for heartworm if they aren’t already on year-round preventive medication.
  • Make sure your pet always has access to fresh water and a cool location out of the sun and heat.
  • Never leave your pet in an unattended vehicle. Even with the windows down, a hot car can become a death trap within minutes, causing hyperthermia, brain damage and even death. Check out the latest on the My Dog is Cool campaign.
  • Limit exercise of elderly dogs or those with a thick coat or a short snout to the morning or evening hours.
  • Avoid making your dog stand on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
  • Keep pets in a secure place during barbecues, especially on the Fourth of July. Fireworks often scare animals and are dangerous, as are matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils.
  • Make an emergency plan that includes your pets. Summer is peak season for fires and other natural disasters. Visit for tips and to order pet emergency kit supplies.