Q: My dogs love to dig up my backyard and eat whatever they can get their paws on. How can I tell them our lantanas are not chew toys? My Boxer ate one not too long ago and got very sick.

A: Well, of course you know that unless you speak fluid dog, there’s no way you can tell your pooch that your large and lovely lantana is not a chew toy. So just don’t plant one where Fluffy can get to it. The trick is knowing which plants aren’t toxic. Below is a partial list to get you started. Familiarize yourself with the names and then remove any dangerous plants from harm’s way.

Oleander-highly toxic if any part of the plant is ingested—this goes for humans, too.
Philodendron-may cause painful stinging of the mouth, lips, skin and eyes upon contact.
Nightshade-leaves and fruit are hazardous.
Lilies-leaves and petals are poisonous.
Sago palm-the entire plant is poisonous and just a few seeds can cause death.
Azalea-leaves and honey from the flower’s nectar are toxic.
Japanese yew-entire plants and seeds are toxic.
Lantana (very popular plant used mostly as an annual)-entire plant, especially berries, is poisonous.

In order to get to the root of the cause and avoid your conundrum altogether, why not feed your dogs plenty of fiber and vegetables? Dogs may nibble on plants if they aren’t getting enough of these vital nutrients. For a comprehensive list of plants that are poisonous to dogs, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.

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