Pets and Toxic Plants

In the midst of Spring there are many reasons to celebrate the arrival of the warmth, sunshine and beautiful blooming flowers, however, it is important to be aware of the hidden dangers to our pets that may also be blooming.

Plants, flowers and fruits can be a common temptation to our pets, often found around our homes, backyards and parks. Eating certain plants is one the most common ways that many pets ingest toxic substances. Symptoms range from vomiting, diarrhoea, acute renal failure, cardiac failure and intestinal obstruction.

Since there are very few effective treatments for toxic plant ingestion, a small mistake in the garden or home can be disastrous to your pet and family. Identifying these potential toxic plants can help prevent exposure to your pet and alert you to the early signs and symptoms if ingestion has occurred. Common symptoms of ingestion of toxic plants are vomiting, drooling and diarrhoea; others are mentioned below.

Common Toxic Plants:

-          Amaryllis- lack of appetite, tremors                              - Cylamen- heart rhythm disturbance

-          Angels Trumpet- disorientation, tremors                     - Daffodils- abnormal breathing, arrhythmia

-          Asparagus Fern- abdominal pain, skin irritation          - Ivy- abdominal pain, skin swelling/itching

-          Autumn Crocus- shock                                                - Kalanchoe- heart rhythm disturbance

-          Azalea- weakness, loss of coordination                       - Lilies- disinterest with food, depression

-          Baby’s breath- Lethargy, depression                           - Oleander- muscle tremors, hypothermia

-          Buttercup- weakness, tremors, seizures                      - Tomato plant- weakness, confusion

-          Chrysanthemum- depression                                       - Tulips- loss of appetite, convulsions

-          Cycads – stiffness, paralysis                                          - Yew- muscle tremors, abnormal breathing

If you suspect your pet has come into contact with any of these plants, it is advised that you contact your veterinarian immediately.

There are more toxic plants that have not been mentioned in this article. If you want to find out more information, you can go to the ASPCA, Cornell University or the Pet Poison Helpline websites, where there is a database of plants listed, including photos and detailed descriptions of the effects of toxic plants on animals. You can also contact your local veterinary practice to see if they have a list on hand that they can provide to you.

Whether you are shopping for bulbs, flowers or seeds this season or want to display some plants within your home, make sure to check that they are safe for your pet first.