As pet owners, we want to provide our furry friends with a safe and healthy environment! However, sometimes we can unknowingly expose them to hazards in our own homes or gardens.
Many common plants and flowers that we may have in our homes or yards can be toxic to our pets if ingested, causing a range of symptoms from mild gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening conditions. This is why it’s so important for pet owners to be aware of which plants are safe and which ones pose a risk to their pets!
If you’re a plant or flower lover, it is extremely important to recognize common signs of plant poisoning, know how to take preventive measures, and what to do if your pet ingests a toxic plant. We hope that by sharing this information, we can help pet owners make informed decisions and keep their furry friends safe from harm!
Poisonous vs. Toxic
The terms “toxic” and “poisonous” are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings regarding plants/flowers and their effects on pets.
A toxic plant contains chemical substances that can cause harmful effects on animals. These substances can be found in different parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, roots, or flowers, and they can cause a range of symptoms, from mild irritation to organ failure.
On the other hand, a poisonous plant contains substances that are specifically harmful when ingested. These substances can be toxic to the body and cause harm or even death if a pet eats them. “Poisonous” implies a HIGH level of toxicity.
In summary, all poisonous plants are toxic, but not all toxic plants are poisonous. A toxic plant can cause harm through various means, such as skin irritation or inhalation, while a poisonous plant is specifically dangerous if ingested. Pet owners must be aware of both toxic and poisonous plants and take steps to prevent their pets from coming into contact with them.
Potential Signs of Ingestion
Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats and Dogs:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
- Uncoordinated movements or muscle tremors
- Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
- Changes in behavior or consciousness
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
The Key Differences in Symptoms Between Cats and Dogs
Cats are generally more sensitive to toxins than dogs. This means they can experience severe poisoning even with a small amount of toxin exposure.
While both cats and dogs can exhibit similar symptoms of poisoning (like the ones listed above), the specific symptoms can vary depending on the type of toxin and the individual animal. For example, cats may exhibit more neurological symptoms, such as twitching or seizures, while dogs may show more gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain or bloating.
Unsafe Plants & Flowers
Lilies (Easter Lily, Peace Lily, Daylily, Tiger Lily, ALL Kinds of Lilies!)
Lillies are highly poisonous to cats, and every part of the plant is dangerous – including the water in a vase. Lilies can cause your cat to develop fatal kidney failure in less than a few days. Even if a cat doesn’t seem to have ingested any of the plants, it could have brushed up against it and licked some pollen off its fur while grooming. That being said, these are dangerous to have anywhere in your home if you have a cat!
This extremely common Spring flower contains toxins that can cause severe gastrointestinal problems. Ingesting tulips can lead to drooling, loss of appetite, convulsions, cardiac abnormalities, and issues within the central nervous system.
Pothos is one of the most common houseplants, but sadly it can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth if ingested.
If ingested, English ivy can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, excessive salivation, or diarrhea in pets.
If ingested, this flower can cause drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea. In severe cases, it can lead to depression or loss of coordination.
This one may seem obvious, but it is more dangerous than some think. In pets, it can cause central nervous system problems, depression, seizures, comas, and more. It is important to note that while marijuana has become more widely legalized and used for medicinal and recreational purposes in humans, it can still be dangerous and potentially lethal for pets.
Safe Plants & Flowers
Popular Pet-Safe Flowers
- African Violets
- Gerber Daisies
Popular Pet-Safe Houseplants
- Spider Plant
- Ponytail Palm
- Boston Fern
- Pilea Peperomioides
- Prayer Plant
ALWAYS Practice Caution!
The world is home to a wide variety of plant species- while this list covers some of the most common toxic plants, it is not comprehensive, and many other plants could be harmful to pets. Therefore, it is always best to research before bringing any plant or flower into your home, especially if you have pets.
By doing a quick Google search or consulting with your veterinarian, you can identify potentially dangerous plants and take the necessary steps to protect your pet! This may involve removing the plant, placing it out of your pet’s reach, or seeking a safer alternative. Prevention is vital to protecting pets from toxic plants and substances!
If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Prompt and appropriate treatment can help prevent complications and increase the chances of a full and quick recovery.
Overall, being informed and cautious is the best way to protect your pets from the potential dangers of toxic plants. By taking these steps, you can ensure the health and safety of your furry companions and enjoy the beauty of plants and flowers in your home.
If you believe your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian, an emergency pet hospital, or the APCC 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
Visit ASPCA’s website for a list of 1,000+ toxic and non-toxic plants.
#LegislationFact: On November 16, 2020, HB580, brought by Representative Lopez of District 125, would require a consumer warning upon selling certain hazardous household plants when ingested by canines. The bill was called Rudy’s Bill, and sadly did not pass and was not brought to any further legislature.