April is National Garden Month! Do you have a garden at home? If you do, remember plants and pets aren’t always a perfect combination. A surprising number of plants, including landscape and houseplant favorites, are toxic to pets. Below are just a few of the more than 300 plants that can cause problems. Talk to your vet or visit a poison control website for a complete list.
- The amaryllis or Naked Lady can cause a range of problems, from gastrointestinal issues to tremors and even anorexia.
- Autumn crocus t can cause vomiting, diarrhea and organ damage.
- Azaleas and similar species can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, general weakness and even death.
- The pyrethrins in chrysanthemums ward off pests, but can also cause gastrointestinal problems.
- Ingesting coleus can induce vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia and depression.
- Consuming cyclamens can result in vomiting, with the root being the most toxic portion of the plant.
- Daffodils and tulip bulbs are a source of toxins that can cause everything from drooling to convulsions and cardiac problems.
- Dahlias can cause both skin and gastrointestinal problems.
- English ivy can cause vomiting, diarrhea, pain and excess salivation.
- Foxglove can result in cardiac and gastrointestinal problems in pets and people.
- Hellebores, a winter-garden favorite, can cause abdominal pain, colic and depression in both dogs and cats if ingested.
- Though hydrangeas are beautiful, symptoms range from oral irritation to gastrointestinal distress to depression for pets who eat them.
- The lily family, including Asiatic hybrids, are highly toxic to cats and can result in severe kidney damage.
- Daylilies, though a member of a different botanical family, are also toxic.
- Oleanders are highly toxic to both humans and pets, causing gastrointestinal problems, compromised cardiac problems, and death.
- The peace lily can cause significant oral problems along with vomiting if consumed by a dog or cat.
- Chewing on and swallowing pothos leaves can cause irritation and swelling. The good news is that most look best when grown as hanging plants, out of the reach of pets.
- While sago palm foliage can cause problems, the seeds are the most problematic. They can cause seizures and liver failure.
- The popular umbrella tree, of the Schefllera genus, can cause intense oral irritation and vomiting if ingested.
- Keep sweet peas away from pets, as they can cause tremors, seizures and death.
- The taxine in yew affects the central nervous system and can result in cardiac failure.
However, this isn’t to say that these plants and your pets can’t coexist. Many dogs and cats won’t give these plants a second look. And even if they do get into them, the toxins may not bother them. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep an eye on your pets and their chewing preferences, especially puppies and kittens who can, and will, chew on everything. Try using bitter apple or bitter orange spray to discourage leaf chomping, installing decorative fencing or wrapping netting, and placing houseplants out of reach. And if you suspect you pet has gotten into something it shouldn’t have, contact your vet or an emergency clinic right away.
Keep in mind that some of these same plants are also toxic to humans. While adults generally don’t chomp their way through a nonedible garden, it’s wise to keep an eye on small children, especially if they explore the world by putting everything in their mouths.