One of the biggest responsibilities that pet owners face is keeping their furry friends safe from harm. With warmer weather around the corner, we are all eager to get outside, but with that comes an increased risk of plant-based toxic ingestion for our pets.
Poisonous Plants for Pets
While many plants are perfectly safe, others can range from mildly irritating to downright lethal.
- Aloe Vera: Used as a salve to treat burns in humans, aloe contains a toxin similar to soap that can cause dehydration and mild to moderate toxicity in pets.
- Chrysanthemum (including Daisies): The chemical compounds in these flowers can cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract and affect the nervous system.
- Crocus: Both the spring and autumnal versions of these plants can cause diarrhea, vomiting, cell division, kidney damage, and respiratory failure.
- Cyclamen: These commonly planted flowers contain toxins that can destroy red blood cells and cause seizures and heart rhythm abnormality.
- Daffodil: Accidental ingestion of these popular yellow spring flowers can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory depression.
- Lily: Ingesting any part of this plant can cause complete kidney failure within 36-72 hours. Even small ingestions, such as the pollen, can be fatal.
- Rhododendron: All parts of this plant are toxic, but the leaves are the most dangerous to animals. The resins can modify their sodium channels and cause changes in blood pressure and heart rate, paralysis, seizures, and trouble breathing.
- Tulip and Hyacinth: These flowers contain chemical compounds that cause profound drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting, leading to severe dehydration. All parts of these plants are toxic, but the bulbs contain higher concentrations of the toxic chemicals, so make sure your dog doesn’t dig anywhere they are present.
Although technically not plants, fertilizers deserve mention since they are often used in gardening. Most fertilizers only cause gastrointestinal irritation, but there are some that are more toxic.
- Blood meal: Due to its high nitrogen content, this fertilizer causes severe inflammation of the pancreas and can result in iron overload.
- Bone meal: When consumed in large amounts, bone meal forms a large cement-like ball in the stomach that can block the gastrointestinal tract and require surgery to remove.
- Pesticides/insecticides: Most are basic irritants and don’t pose any concern, but rose and plant fertilizers may contain chemical compounds that cause buildup of neurotransmitters, resulting in the over stimulation of certain receptors.
While most plants are perfectly safe to be around, others can cause severe reactions in your furry friend. If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant or fertilizer, call Sierra Veterinary Hospital or a poison control hotline immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear, as delaying treatment can result in worsening symptoms or even death.