Did you know that household plants, though aesthetically pleasing, can also be harmful to our pets? While dogs and cats are traditionally known to be carnivorous, plant ingestion by pets has become a common behavior. This makes it extremely important to protect our pets from ingesting the wrong plants as most common household plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. Therefore, the focus for National Poison Prevention Month, falling annually in March, is to provide education on common plant that are poisonous to dogs and cats.
Below are 7 common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats:
Belladonna Lily (Amaryllis)
It grows to produce white and red flowers. It contains lycorine and other poisonous substances which causes vomiting, depression, hyper salivation, anorexia, abdominal pain, tremors and kidney failure in cats and dogs.
While many people love this plant because of its juicy yellowish-orange fruits, dogs and cats shouldn’t be allowed to ingest it, including the stems and leaves to avoid developing clinical symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, shock, and dilated pupils which could be fatal if a veterinarian is not contacted for help.
Alocasia (Elephant’s Ear)
It can be found in many homes as an ornamental plant. Elephant’s Ear is very high in insoluble calcium oxalate, which causes difficulty in swallowing, oral irritation, vomiting and excessive drooling in cats and dogs.
It is also known as Rhododendron and used as an ornamental plant. However, Azelea contains Grayantoxin which may result in diarrhea and cardiac failure when ingested by cats or dogs.
It is popular for its medicinal importance and thick, succulent foliage edged with teeth. However, the thick gel in the leaves contains a naturally occurring detergent known as saponins and anthraquinones which are very toxic to cats and dogs as well as birds. Saponins poisoning from Aloe Vera produces symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite and change in urine color which are pointers of gastrointestinal tract infection and kidney damage.
Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
This is a common houseplant which produces leaves with white spots and flecks. Dumb Cane when ingested by some pets can cause intensive drooling, oral irritation, nausea and vomiting due to insoluble calcium oxalate poisoning. Dumb Cane is also toxic to humans.
This plant grows naturally in tropical environments and it’s commonly used as an ornamental houseplant. All its parts are considered poisonous to pets with the seeds being the most toxic. Ingestion results in severe liver damage in dogs, drooling, vomiting, tremors and abdominal pain due to the toxic effects of cycasin which it contains.
Other pet toxic plants include Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Lily of the Valley, Asparagus Fern, Hawaiian Ti Plant and so on.
How to Prevent Plant Poisoning In Pets
It is quite understandable that people have plants inside their homes for different purposes such as beautification, to help purify air, and to reduce stress. The question that comes to mind is “How do both pets and plants coexist under the same roof?” To address this see below.
Grow non-toxic houseplants
Although this is a matter of choice, it could prevent poisoning in dogs and cats. Examples of such plants are Bamboo Palm, Snapdragons, Spider plant, Sunflowers and Christmas cactus. Most of these plants could also serve as distractions from poisonous greenery in the home.
Finally, as a cautionary measure, if you think your pet ingested a plant which might be toxic, it’s best to call your veterinarian right away. It can also be helpful to have the phone number to pet poison control.
If you are a pet parent, do you have any of these common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats in your home?