Identifying Plants Toxic to Your Pets

By Brent Honcharenko

Being a new pet rescue foster or even a new pet adopter is an exciting time. You can be as prepared as you think, and with all good intentions, you believe in your heart that you have covered all the angles for the safety of your new arrival. But you may have easily overlooked one inconspicuous item (or several items) in and around your home that a new dog or cat may be attracted to – plants.

In all of your preparation, have you thought about the plants you have in your home and outside your home, and ensured they are not toxic to your new four-legged family member? This caution should apply to veteran pet owners as well. Keep in mind, that pretty plant you see at the market, that you immediately envision looking perfect in your living room, family room, kitchen, or out in the garden, could actually be a danger to your pet.

A quick Internet search of ‘plants toxic to pets’ immediately brings you to a number of website landing pages, links, and images. Here is a quick list of some popular plants you will want to avoid having in or outside of your home if you have a dog or cat (plant name – health symptoms if ingested):

  • Lilies – Kidney damage.
  • Sago Palm – Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver failure.
  • Tulip – Intense gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Azalea – Vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, affects the central nervous system.
  • Oleander – Gastrointestinal irritation, abnormal heart function.
  • Castor Bean – Abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures.
  • Cyclamen – Gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Kalanchoe (Widow’s Thrill) – Toxic to the heart.
  • Yew – Gastrointestinal irritation, affects the central nervous system.
  • Amaryllis – Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
  • Autumn Crocus – Oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Chrysanthemum – Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • English Ivy – Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
  • Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) – Oral tissue irritation and swelling.
  • Schefflera (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) – Oral irritation, drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.
Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)

Again, this is just a short list of some plants and their potential effects on your pets. All of these can be fatal if the ingestion and conditions are severe enough.

You can find more information, including much more comprehensive and detailed lists of indoor and outdoor plants toxic to pets, on the ASPCA site.

Balancing your home décor and landscaping while keeping the health and safety of your pets in mind takes just a few minutes of research. But it’s well worth it.

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