View Full Version : Hello! Garden dangers

7th November 2006, 02:34 PM
Hi there. This is my first post; I'm new to all this and completely new to dog owning. We got Scampi (now 9 wks) a week ago and she is delicious. My biggest problem is training my 8 and 12 yr old daughters how to be with her, while I am learning myself!

I have been browsing your site for several weeks in the run-up to getting her and it has all been really useful. I wonder whether you can give me a bit of advice. We have a largish garden, with a lot of mature trees and shrubs in it, some of which are, I understand, potentially poisonous; notably masses of yew and some holly. So far, because I am waiting for a gate to be put in, I have quickly got her used to a collar and lead and have not yet let her off. I would very much like to let her off when I can, but should I be overly concerned about the likelihood of her munching dangerous plants? Dog-owning friends say they have never given it any thought. Presumably when one lets dogs off in a large open space, one has no control over what they pick up... Do dogs ever develop any sense about what is and is not good to eat?

Also - what height fence do you think should contain an adult cavalier?! Do you think 1metre wire mesh would do?

Please forgive my ignorance - it's a steep learning curve!

7th November 2006, 02:42 PM
Oh boy do I ever understand the learning curve!!

First off, icon_welcome Nice to have you aboard.. now where are all of your pictures? :snap: hehe :P

For me, personally, I would get rid of anything dangerous and poisonous in your yard that your baby could potentially ingest if you weren't able to keep an eye on her at all times. I know Kosmo will get his mouth on anything and everything he possibly can. It's quite annoying, really. He's gotten sick quite a few times from eating stray things even while ON leash, I can't imagine what he would pick up of he was off!! I don't think Kos will ever gain any sense of what to eat and what not to eat.. if it's there.. he'll eat it, almost guaranteed!

Good luck! :flwr:

7th November 2006, 03:01 PM
Oh dear. I was afraid you might say that. Photo will come when I can get my head round the procedure!

Barbara Nixon
7th November 2006, 04:49 PM
If dogs knew what was dangerous they wouldn't be so keen to eat chocolate. Besides garden plants, many house plants and flowers in the new trendy bouquets are poisonous. Bits can drop off and fall onto the floor near your puppy.

There's no way of knowing whether your puppy will chomp on forbiden plants until you ctach him doing so. I had 5 who never chewed, then one day was shcoked to fing Joly in the kitchen with a mouthful of lily plant. Luckily, a web search showed that my variety wasn't one poisonous to dogs.

I don't think any height of mesh fence would hold a cavalier in, as if needs be, they will climb using their claws. The lady who bred three of my boys had to replace an openwork fence (not a boundary fence) because teddy's mum climbed up and over. Teddy's great grandfather climbed a 6 feet high fence, after bitches, and was run over and a breeder once told be their stud dog had climbed up a very tall mesh fence then crawled over the mesh cover on the bitch enclosure.

7th November 2006, 05:23 PM
Yes - that's what I thought, but it's a point worth remembering about houseplants especially with Christmas coming up - should be fun!

Bit shocking about the fence question. Perhaps we'll have to think about the in ground sort too. I had no idea we were bringing up a potential houdini.

7th November 2006, 05:38 PM
We had a scare yesterday. My daughters cavalier jumped on the table and finished a small plate of chocolate chip cookies. We were busy trying to calculate how much semi-sweet chocolate he'd ingested vs. his weight.
We pulled all the toxic to mildly irritation vegetation from our back yard. I got tired to trying to keep it away from the dogs. We took out flowering clematis and bittersweet plants-- planted the holly in the front yard.
What we will do for our babies is nothing short of amazing.

Cathy Moon
7th November 2006, 05:40 PM
We have a 4ft fence and no problems. We've had both wood and vinyl fences, and the slats are 2 inches apart. My cavs have never tried to escape. Actually, there was 4 ft high chainlink fence (maybe the same as your mesh?) across the back at my previous house, and we never had problems.

I buy the folding wire fence that you use along borders and put that around any plants the dogs shouldn't be near. The green color looks best. I think it's 24 inches high, and if you overlap two layers of it the cavs cannot get through it. Every now and then they'll try to jump it, but mostly they behave.

7th November 2006, 06:25 PM
I think one of the things about dogs is, they'll eat anything, to the grief of their owners. One of the least popular things people have complained of has been various kinds of poop, including their own. However, not all and perhaps not most will do this. In the 8 months i've had one year old Zack, there was one suspected incident at 7 months, and no others.

That's the thing, in my experience--unpredictability. Just because he doesn't usually do it or never has done it, doesn't necessarily mean he never will. As for fences, climbing and jumping, Zack could easily jump out of a 24" high xpen, although i used one for weeks and he never did before, and then when we had my daughter's cavalier belle as a house guest and both were in the pen, he jumped out. I made barriers so that he couldn't do it the next night, but he got out anyway, he leaped up on top of the 32 inch high kitchen table. The evidence of that was that stuff that was on the table, dog treats in a sealed roll (natural balance lamb and rice roll) was eaten, and i feared some of the plastic cover was eaten as well because i couldn't find it. I thought maybe he got up on a kitchen chair and then onto the table, though i had placed the chairs in a way to prevent that. But then, another night, when Belle wasn't there anymore, I stood and watched him shoot straight up in the air and land gracefully with all fours right on the table, it looked like he flew up.

so i got 48 inch high mesh gates for the kitchen and he has never climbed out over the gates, although he hated being in the kitchen terribly, while i slept or was at work. I thought that system worked until belle came for another visit, and that night, Zack found his way out of the kitchen and into the living room. He got up on the kitchen table, then up on the room divider which looks to be about 5 feet high, and jumped down into the living room, apparently. It freaks me out to think he jumped down that far.

Belle on the other hand, who wanted out just as badly as Zack, did not or could not escape.

So it depends.

It's easy to be complacent with Zack because normally he goes along with the program--lulling me into a kind of unawareness perhaps. For example, i put the cat's food on the desk in the living room. She jumps up on a chair and then onto the desk. Her arthritis prevents her from jumping all the way up. When Zack was new and small, he couldn't make those jumps, but now he can, but he never has. I guess he hasn't made the intellectual connection to realize he could have her food (which he likes very much) that easilly. But, since he's never done it, and he has the freedom to do it if he wants, then i don't worry about it. But i still check for signs that he's done it. No signs yet.

I would say that some dogs get into more mischief than others and you will soon find out about Scampi. Also, dogs, like kids, go through stages, and as a dog matures, socialization will progress. Zack has the run of the house all day now. Training plays a role.

It's like having a baby when you child proof a home, you need to dog proof the environment, taking precautions for things that might never happen and supervise closely.

Welcome Scampi! That is the cutest name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

7th November 2006, 07:07 PM
My Duncan never jumped/climbed anything...then there was Arthur

http://static.flickr.com/113/288175840_a19e4b916c.jpg :oops:

7th November 2006, 07:35 PM
OMG Ashley! That's hysterical! :lol:

Katie, if it were me, I'd probably pull anything potentially poisonous from my garden. But then, my girl has rototilled my hostas and apparently thinks rabbit poop is caviar. She walks with her nose to the ground, and will chomp on anything she happens to come across. She's like a little Hoover, lol.

Congratulations on your new baby! :luv:

7th November 2006, 07:35 PM
Help! I shall just have to watch and wait, and pray for a non-jumper/climber! We also have an arthritic old cat which is going to present its own logistical problems once Scampi is old enough to be let loose around the house. Any tips for acclimatising the two of them would be very welcome. I am crate-training Scampi and she has a little run in the kitchen (24" high, so clearly only a temporary measure) so they are both protected from each other, but we had the two of them on our knees on the floor the other night and the cat took a lightning swipe at Scampi's face (resulting in a squeal from the puppy, but mercifully didn't do any damage). I am rather worried about the inevitable showdown once we are not separating them all the time.

On the subject of plants, once again: I feel there must be some of you who do not uproot all the potentially dangerous plants in your gardens... We have actually removed a laburnum tree with the puppy in mind and because we've never liked having it in the garden anyway, and one or two other plants which were easy to remove, but it just isn't practical to take out our huge yew hedges.

I must say I am beginning to feel rather overwhelmed with the enormity of what we have taken on!

8th November 2006, 01:59 AM
We took out flowering clematis and bittersweet plants

I have Clematis Montana trailing into my garden over the fence from the neighbours garden. Is that dangerous?

8th November 2006, 11:36 AM
Could you put a fence around the yew? Maybe leaving a gap between the fence and the yew. We did this when we had conifers as the sap from the conifers irritates skin and we wanted to keep the dogs away from them.

As for escaping, we once had a foster who managed to escape from our garden on several occasions. We couldn't figure out how she was escaping though until we spotted a gap of about 3" wide in some fencing (we think the kids who used to live at the back of us had kicked it). She was somehow managing to squish herself through it. Hubby decided she must have descended from a rat as she was quite wide at the time (ex breeding bitch from puppy farm).

After that we did the tour of the garden making sure that there were absolutely no gaps whatsoever and that any plants that were in any way irritant or toxic were either removed or fenced off.

Barbara Nixon
8th November 2006, 11:42 AM
Yes, clematis appears to be poisonous, although I can't find how bad, after only a quick Google. One site does say that it causes intense pain in the mouth; ample reason to avoid it.

This site gives a list of poisonous plants . There are many lists , but they don't all include everything.


Bruce H
8th November 2006, 12:10 PM
We fenced our back yard with a 4' tall wire fence. It was the only option for us with so many dogs; just don't like the electronic fences. So far we have not had any fence climbers; a couple diggers but we fixed that by burying the fence about 4" and doing fence patrol every few days. I have often thought that if we ever got a fence climber that I would add to the top an 18" wide section of fence that's angled at 45 degrees facing in. That way they couldn't do what Arthur is doing in the previous picture (which is very cute, BTW).

As to plants, we have done what others have done and got rid of anything potentially harmful to our dogs. Even in the front yard, in case the dogs ever escape. Just don't want to take any kind of a chance.

8th November 2006, 12:21 PM
Barbara, Donna, Judy et al

Thank you all for your advice. Love the picture of Arthur! Glad you like the name. We have been getting a bit of stick for it but it suits her, especially when she charges around the garden at 100 miles an hour chasing leaves!

We've got too much yew to fence off, and while I am still uneasy about living with it, I think we may just have to. Friends I have spoken to have not removed theirs with no ill consequences, and I think I will just concentrate on picking off the berries and taking out all the other plants - lilies, lily of the valley etc. I just cannot believe, however, that no dog owners have daffodils in their gardens.... ? I guess one has to hope to some degree.

On the subject of fencing - thank you all for your houdini stories. My husband has taken great pleasure in teasing me about spending the last few weeks burying chicken wire under our existing gappy fences, so I am vindicated!

Barbara Nixon
8th November 2006, 01:52 PM
If you are going to risk leaving the yew, then it's vital that you are aware of the symptoms from ingesting it.

I've just found that a plant I always meant to get, the acer, is poisonous.

8th November 2006, 03:12 PM
yes - thanks I am.

12th November 2006, 04:43 PM
I was looking on some sites last night and low and behold 3 of the plants I have on my screened porch where Lily has been palying are listed as poisonous. English Ivy, Asparagus Fern, and Geraniums. English Ivy will cause coma and death. I had no idea! I removed them immediately.

Here are the sites:




13th November 2006, 04:15 AM
Just had a problem with my Goldies getting out. So we added extra wire to the top and now its too wobbly for them to climb up on.

13th November 2006, 09:39 AM

Having kicked this discussion off - God knows what the sensible attitude to all this is - I am seriously beginning to wonder. I think it's really hard to take a measured line on 'poisonous plants' and over the last few weeks I have lurched from a scorched earth policy (which I would do if we only had a small yard, but which would frankly leave us with bare ground in our acre of garden...) to trying to be a bit more rational.

I have been speaking to vet friends and practically all my friends (90% of whom have had dogs for years), and they take a very dismissive line, especially those who live in the country. Yes of course the danger is there, but in a situation where one's dogs are running free in a very large garden or out in the countryside one has no control over what they investigate and incidences of poisoning are rare.

When we moved from London to this house where we have a big garden with mature trees and shrubs, some of my scaremongering London friends were telling me then that I should take the yew and laburnum out, because of my children. I told my children never to eat plants and watched them like a hawk when they were very young - as I will do with my puppy. It would have been far more serious after all if my children had munched them however precious the dog is, and I chose to take the risk. I love my kids to bits, but life is a risk after all. Education, training and vigilance have to be the way to go I reckon.

13th November 2006, 09:40 AM

ps We have English ivy EVERYWHERE here, if it's what I think it is!

13th November 2006, 02:52 PM

Having kicked this discussion off - God knows what the sensible attitude to all this is - I am seriously beginning to wonder. I think it's really hard to take a measured line on 'poisonous plants' and over the last few weeks I have lurched from a scorched earth policy (which I would do if we only had a small yard, but which would frankly leave us with bare ground in our acre of garden...) to trying to be a bit more rational.

I guess I need to clarify. My plants are in pots on my screened porch. The English ivy and the asparagus fern are sitting on the floor, and I have seen Lily nibble at them and caught her with a couple of dropped off leaves in her mouth. The geranium is on a plant stand that she can't get to, but again leaves and petals have fallen on the floor. It was easy for me just to move them to the outside part of the deck where she can't get to them. I never thought about those plant being poisonous until reading your post prompted me to check. When I checked, I was amazed that these plants were poisonous. Especially the English ivy, which is deadly.

I would never dig up my garden if I had poisonous plants there, which according to the list I do (azaleas) I will just have to watch her. As a matter of fact it seems like almost every plant I have ever heard of was on the list.

It just made sense for me to move the bad ones from the deck so she could play out there without me having to watch her every second

13th November 2006, 04:30 PM
Shay -I'd have done exactly what you did if they were moveable. Practically everything in our garden seems to be poisonous to some degree. I was having sleepless nights about it last week, thinking we should never have risked having a puppy with our garden; but this week I am being a bit more sanguine about it, thinking about how everyone else manages. I just have to pray she turns out sensible in that department. She loves chasing all the leaves on the ground, but so far hasn't stopped to chew them much.

13th November 2006, 04:57 PM
Katie......Lily loves leaves! Every kind. Every time I take her out, she stops to pick up leaves and starts chewing them. We took her to the park yesterday, and much to my husband's dismay, she was more interested in the leaves, than chasing the ball. :lol:

Barbara Nixon
13th November 2006, 05:28 PM
Sharon, who bred my younger three, has a very exotic garden for this country. She solves the problem by fencing the garden so the dogs can only go on the patio area, which is decorated with hanging baskets of non-poisonous plants.

I didn't think I had a nibbler, after having five previous dogs, until Joly came in with a mouthful of lily and gave me a scare.

I still have potted azaleas, but they are on the kitchen window ledge, so anyleaves etc fall onto the worktop or into the sink and not the floor.

13th November 2006, 06:33 PM

We've considered fencing our patio area but judging by the comments on this thread already, we'd need 7ft high fence to keep her in, and then we couldn't see the rest of the garden! What sort of fence do you have round your patio?

15th November 2006, 12:45 AM
Cav's can jump but I will say the jumping has only been when he is trying to get to us....we have a very short fence out back that neither of my dogs have considered jumping. A fense may help to contain your pup unless you were in the garden :)

Barbara Nixon
15th November 2006, 11:22 AM
We don't have a patio or a garden; just a muddy grassy area , at the moment. We killed 75% of the grass/weeds, ready for a revamp, then the man din't come to give an estimate.

My husband is trying to contact an ex work colleague who used to do hard landsacaping, to come and have a look. However, as the garden is empty, we have no poisonous plants. The plan is for a patio by the house, to retain the dogs in wet weather and a lawned area, surrounded by raised flowerbeds, enclosed in low walls. As keeping off mud, rather than safety is the aim, we don't need anything high.

Sharon's exotic garden is on a slope going down from the house, so she can't see it anyway. It's separated by a 4' ? fence of vertical wooden slats (no horizontal footholds). The fence makes the garden, which is quite small, cosy and private.