Plants Poisonous to Pets

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As we gear up for the chilly weather about to beset us, many will begin bringing in favorite plants to save them from frost and certain demise. But before you start plopping your precious potted plants willy-nilly throughout your warm and cozy home, it is important to be mindful of which plants you bring in and where you house them, as some plants are poisonous to pets and could result in severe illness and even death for curious pets.

To help ensure your pets are healthy and happy, we have listed 10 of the most common household plants that are poisonous to pets:

  • Autumn Crocus Containing a chemical called colchicine, the autumn crocus is highly toxic and is known to cause intense burning sensation in the mouth, along with vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, liver and kidney damage, and even heart arrhythmias. While the entire plant is toxic if ingested, the bulbs especially should be kept away from pets.
  • Azalea Ingesting even a few leaves from the azalea can have serious gastrointestinal effects on pets, including vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling. After ingesting, immediate veterinary attention is needed to prevent your pet from falling into a coma and possibly dying.
  • Cyclamen The roots of the cyclamen, a seasonal flowering plant, are the most toxic to pets. Ingesting the roots can cause severe vomiting and possibly death if left untreated.
  • Daffodil Containing lycorine, an alkaloid with properties known to trigger vomiting, the bulb, plant, and flower of the daffodil can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if ingested. More serious symptoms, like cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression, are also possible effects of ingesting daffodils, so if you happen to witness a pet scarfing down on these flowers, please get them to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Dieffenbachia These popular house plants can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues if ingested by a pet.
  • Kalanchoe If ingested, this flowering succulent plant (also known as the Mother-in-Law plant) can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and in rarer cases, heart arrhythmia in pets.
  • Lilies This should come as no surprise to any pet parent who are avid gardeners, but lilies typically need to be kept as far out of reach from pets as possible. Since there exists both dangerous and benign lilies, it is important to know how to differentiate between them. For instance, the ingestion of Peace, Peruvian, and Calla versions will typically only result in minor drooling. True lilies, including Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Snow, are highly toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney failure if ingested.
  • Oleander This ornamental flowering shrub, found more commonly in the southern United States, can cause fatal heart abnormalities, muscle tremors, incoordination, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea if ingested.
  • Sago Palm These popular warm climate houseplants are extremely toxic to dogs if ingested, known to cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, damage to the stomach lining, liver failure, and in extreme cases, death.
  • Tulips and Hyacinths While the entire tulip plant is toxic, the bulb especially should be kept as far away from pets as possible as it contains the highest concentration of allergenic lactones. Ingestion can cause oral tissue irritation, excessive drooling and nausea. While there is no specific antidote for Tulip poisoning, supportive care from your veterinarian typically results in pets making a full recovery.

If you are uncertain about the plants in and around your home, the ASPCA has a database of plants that have been reported as having systemic and/or intense gastrointestinal effects on pets.

For some of these toxic plants, should your pets ingest them, they will have to endure anti-vomiting medication, a thorough mouth rinse and possible subcutaneous fluids, along with any anti-toxins specific to the particular plant. Contact us immediately if you have reason to believe that your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous plant.

Bonnie Ruszczyk

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