Overview

Pets share our home and garden and so are at risk of exposure to a variety of garden products and substances. This leaflet describes some of the common garden products that are involved in poisoning in pets.

BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE
Benzalkonium chloride is a common ingredient in household disinfectants and some patio cleaners. Benzalkonium chloride exposure can cause oral inflammation and ulceration, drooling and high body temperature. Effects can be delayed by several hours.

COMPOST
Compost heaps are full of moulds that break down the vegetation to form the compost. Some moulds produce toxic compounds that can cause tremors and convulsions if eaten.

FERTILIZERS
Fertilizers, including bonemeal, are commonly used in spring and autumn and, although of relatively low toxicity, they can cause gastrointestinal upset and irritation to the skin.

GLYPHOSATE
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many weed killers. It is irritant and can cause gastrointestinal signs and sometimes more severe poisoning such as breathing problems, convulsions and low
heart rate.

INSECTICIDES
There are a huge number of products available to control insect pests, including ant baits, fly sprays and bug sprays for plants. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions to limit exposure to pets.

LAWN FEED, WEED AND MOSS KILLERS
These generally contain fertilizers (see above), weed killers and ferrous sulphate (iron) to kill moss. All the chemicals are irritant and can cause gastrointestinal upset and there is also the risk of iron poisoning which can result in severe gastrointestinal signs, shock and liver failure.

SLUG KILLERS
These can contain a variety of ingredients. Many products contain metaldehyde and this can cause tremors and convulsions which can start soon after ingestion. Some products contain ferric phosphate which can potentially cause iron poisoning with significant gastrointestinal upset.

WEED KILLERS
A variety of products are available to control weeds, including glyphosate (see above). It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and precautions to limit exposure to pets.

EMERGENCY ADVICE
Call Animal PoisonLine on 01202 509000 even if your pet is showing no signs to find out whether a trip to the vet is required.
• Remove your pet from the source of poison.
• Do not try to make your pet vomit –NEVER give salt water.
• Collect the poison and take a sample/container with you if you are advised to take your pet to the vet practice.