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Keeping Dogs Safe

July 07, 1996

The Times' response to the question posed by M.B. of Glendale regarding dogs and gardening ("Planting a Garden Dogs Will Respect," Garden Q&A, June 16) fell dangerously short of providing accurate landscape information and responsibly answering the dilemmas faced by all dog-loving gardeners.

While your suggestion of training the dog is an invaluable approach at damage-and-psyche control and is right on target, your suggestions for possible plant varieties was not. Pyracantha, junipers, ivy and vinca--many of the plants suggested in your answer--produce varied toxic effects if cats or other outdoor pets happen to chew or eat part of the plants. The masses of small berries that pyracantha produce are known irritants if swallowed.

In the "Dog Owner's Veterinary Handbook," Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M, and James M. Giffin, M.D., identify various ivies (which are among the many common Southern California plants) that produce such symptoms as vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps, and tremors, and even heart, respiratory or kidney problems.

Other toxic plants cited by Carlson and Giffin include azaleas, asparagus ferns, sprangeri ferns, bird of paradise, oleander, Angel's Trumpet, nightshade, morning glory, foxgloves, daffodils and peach trees.

KATHRYN BROZZO

Santa Ana

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