Plants that May Make Your Pets Sick

Close up of Woman Hugging German Shepherd Dog

For many people, there is little that brings more joy than the satisfaction of creating and maintaining a beautiful garden or landscaped lawn. However, there is an element that is often not considered while planting: Are these plants safe for my pets? Many cats and dogs are curious about plants, and like to chew on them. Unfortunately, some common plants are capable of making pets sick.

  • Lillies – Lillies of any variety can be extremely hazardous to cats. The exact toxic component has not been identified, but it has been determined that ingesting even a very small amount of a lily may cause severe kidney damage.

  • Tulips – The bulbs of tulips and narcissus plants contain toxins that may lead to intense gastrointestinal distress, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, convulsions, abnormal heartbeat, and/or depression of the central nervous system in both cats and dogs.

  • Azaleas/Rhododendrons – These plants contain grayantoxins, which may cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, weakness, and/or depression of the central nervous system. Severe azalea poisoning may lead to coma or even death.

  • Oleander – All parts of the oleander plant are considered toxic to pets. Oleander ingestion may cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and/or death.

  • Amaryllis – Commonly sold around Easter time, amaryllis plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased salivation, loss of appetite, or tremors.

  • Chrysanthemum – Ingestion of this popular flowering plant may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling. In severe cases, depression of the nervous system and/or a loss of coordination may occur.

  • English Ivy – This plant, which is known by many names, may cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or increased salivation if ingested by a pet.

  • Daffodils – Ingestion of any part of the daffodil plant may cause abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly even cardiac arrhythmias and/or respiratory difficulties.

The preceding is just a small sampling of common plants that may be harmful to cats and dogs. If you have pets that go outdoors, it is wise to double-check any plants before putting them in an area that your furry friends may have access to. A comprehensive list can be found on the ASPCA website. If your pet does ingest any harmful substance, immediately contact your regular veterinarian, the closest 24 hour animal hospital, or the Pet Poison Hotline, a service available 24/7 in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, at 1-855-764-7661.


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