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Having plants in your home and garden has many benefits. Yet some plants may be a cause for concern because they have certain toxins that could be harmful to your household pet. As much as you love to have a beautiful garden and plants to improve the quality of your home, it is important to make sure your pet is safe. It is in your pet’s best interest to understand the risks involved and what plants could be potentially harmful to them.
You can map out where you place your plants so that it does not get in the way of your pet, especially if they get overly curious and want to explore. It is a good idea to keep an emergency kit and have some knowledge of first aid to assist your pet if there are any incidents, but the best step to take if you have any concerns is to get to your vet as soon as you can.
There are many plants that can cause harmful effects to your pet and the best option would be to check with your vet if you are unsure. Here is a list of the most common types of plants that may be harmful to your pet:
This plant species belonging to the Cycadaceae family is toxic for pets, and ingesting a tiny amount may result in nausea, diarrhea, seizures, and possibly liver failure in extreme cases.
Although consuming Marijuana is not likely fatal, it is highly intoxicating, and the side effects, nausea, diarrhea, seizures, disorientation, and vomiting, may last several days.
Poison Ivy or regular Ivy is a skin irritant that can cause a severe allergic reaction, disrupt breathing, and cause rashes. In extreme cases, the intensity of the allergic reaction may prove fatal, leading to coma or paralysis.
Philodendron is a tropical American climbing plant, typically grown indoors. This plant contains calcium oxalate, which can cause toxic reactions upon consumption. Besides the toxins, spikes are a threat and may cause physical damage to food and the digestive tract.
Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is especially concerning because, unlike other plants, all parts of it are toxic upon consumption leading to nausea, diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, irritation in the food tract, and liver failure in severe cases.
Rhododendrons are native Asian species. Consuming rhododendrons is fatal to dogs compared to other pets. Dogs may develop more intense reactions to it. The intensity of symptoms may range depending on the amount of plant consumed. Some significant symptoms are intestinal upset, weakness, and abnormal heartbeat. Large doses may result in death.
The Kalanchoe plant is beautiful as a decorative piece. However, this friendly face packs a punch. This plant has a natural toxin, Bufadienolides, which accelerates the heart rate. As a result, if pets consume it, they may show heightened heart rate, nausea, and vomiting symptoms. All plant parts (roots, leaves, stems) are dangerous.
English Yew is a reasonably dangerous plant for pets and humans alike. If consumed, the natural toxins in this plant may lead to cardiac issues and cardiac arrest in severe cases. The toxins are more potent and lethal in the winter, which spikes their effect on the heart. Low intensities may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weakness, loss of motion, and anxiety.
Chrysanthemums naturally have pyrethrin pesticides to repel insects. They also have sesquiterpene lactones which are toxins. These toxins may cause reactions like low blood pressure, respiratory failure, coma, and death in rare cases. All plant parts are toxic to pets.
Also known as Spathiphyllum, this charming plant also poses a threat to your beloved pet. Like philodendrons, peace lilies also have calcium oxalate crystals. These, upon ingestion, can damage the food, and intestinal tract, causing intense burning and pain. The damage to the intestinal tract may further evolve into other conditions.
Alocasia is a beautiful broad-leaved perennial flowering plant native to the Asian and eastern Australian regions. It is mainly an indoor decorative plant. As it belongs to the Araceae family, this plant also contains calcium oxalates which are toxic to pets upon ingestion. The pet may indicate mild irritable reactions.
Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise, also known as Sterilizia, is an indoor ornamental plant native to the African region. It contains hydrogen cyanide toxin, which can be fatal in severe cases of ingestion. Like other toxic plants, the symptoms are relatively similar, including vomiting, nausea, disorientation, shivers due to weakness, disruption of breathing, and possibly death. All plant parts are toxic.
As an indoor decorative item, Jade plants are pleasing to the eye. However, the toxins in plants make them troublesome for pets when ingested. Pets, especially dogs and cats, may develop symptoms like gastric upset, disruption in a heartbeat, and nausea, to name a few.
ZZ or Zanzibar Gem is a tropical perennial plant native to the Eastern African region from the Araceae family. It is excellent for the indoor decoration but is toxic for pets due to its chemical composition. It also contains calcium oxalates, which crystallize upon consumption causing damage to the food tract. Severity may be mild compared to some other plants but can cause distress due to prolonging irritation in lips, mouth, tongue, and throat. All plant parts are considered dangerous.
Dracaena is a woody plant native to Africa and some Asian regions. It contains the toxin Saponin, which causes similar symptoms like vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and loss of motor function in some cases.
Starleaf or Schefflera is a common household plant. If ingested, pets may become agitated due to severe irritation in the mouth, trouble swallowing, vomiting, and nausea. Due to the crystal composition, it induces severe pain. Dogs and cats are prone alike to it.
Gardenia is an indoor native African and Asian plant. Although this plant is non-toxic for humans, every part of it is toxic to animals and can cause hives, and diarrhea if ingested.
Not all types of gardenia are toxic to animals however. The gardenia jasminoides is the most toxic variety while all the other types are safe. Gardenia jasminoides is not deadly but can cause severe reactions depending on the quantity consumed.
Geraniums are perennial plants that are native to temperate regions. The natural composition of Geranium plants, containing essential oils like linalool and geraniol, is toxic to pets because they cause gastric issues and can cause irritative reactions if exposed to the skin. Caution is necessary when planning to keep these plants.
Oleanders are stunning gardening and decorative plants but are problematic for pets if ingested because it contains compounds that may cause allergic and irritable reactions. The shrub of the plant includes what is known as cardiac glycosides, which are relatively poisonous to both humans and pets. Consuming the plant may lead to serious or even fatal symptoms in severe cases.
Like the ZZ plant, Begonia contains calcium oxalates, which cause intestinal issues and mildly toxic and irritable reactions upon consumption.
If you have any concerns about your pets safety and you think your pet has been poisoned by a plant, here is a brief summary of some of the common symptoms in your pet, that you should be looking out for:
- Changes in bowel movements
- Depressed/lethargic/lack of energy
- Increased drinking and urinating
- Irritation to their mouth (ulcers and blisters)
- Loss of appetite
- No urination
- Skin allergies (red, itchy and irritable skin)
- Difficulty with walking
Take – Away
Plants are a great way to embolden your gardens, living spaces and accentuate the aesthetic of your home, but they can come at a cost. Most plants are naturally problematic for household pets. It is always a good idea to ensure safety by being mindful where you place your plants so that they are not in the way or become easily accessible to your pet.
It becomes very handy to be aware of the risks involved and take the necessary steps to make sure your pet is always safe. Otherwise, it can be a painstaking trip to the vet. It would help to have an emergency kit and know how to provide basic first aid in case of an incident, but a stop at the vet is always the best option so that your pet is safe and well.