Q: I’d like to get into gardening, but worry that some plants may be dangerous for my dog. What should I watch out for?

A: Gardens offer so many benefits — from natural beauty to backyard produce. But, you’re right, they can present dangers for dogs. Here’s how to garden with your best friend in mind:

• If you use herbicides and pesticides, do so with caution. They can be hazardous to your dog. Follow the directions on the product carefully and be sure to store items in a place that’s out of your dog’s reach. Do not use pesticides that include metaldehyde or methomyl, sometimes used in snail and fly bait.

• Avoid dangerous plants. A number of common flowers and plants can be unsafe or even fatal for dogs, so it’s important to do research on the plants that you will be using in your garden. Plants to avoid include calla lilies, azalea, sago palm and rhododendron. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocus can also be toxic if ingested. Additionally, be mindful of plants that have thorns. They can put a hurt on your pup.

• Beware of spring allergies. As with humans, blooming plants, grasses and flowers can trigger seasonal allergies in dogs. Common signs of allergies include scratching and biting of the skin; excessive shedding; irritated eyes; red, inflamed or dry skin; licking paws; scooting; sneezing and runny nose. If you see any signs of allergies in your dog, make an appointment at the veterinarian.

• Designate a play area. Give your pup its own outdoor play place, preferably one that’s away from your garden. This should be an area where your dog can run around and burn some energy or even safely do some digging. Having a space of its own will help prevent your dog from causing damage to your garden or itself.

American Kennel Club