Just sniffing this toxic plant could be deadly for your pet


By Dr. Becker

Many animals like to nibble on plants. If yours is one of them, it is extremely important to check your home and garden for toxic varieties. Many common indoor and garden ornamental plants can cause illness in pets, ranging from mild nausea to death.

In fact, of the approximately 150,000 calls to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA) Poison Control Hotline, about a quarter of poisonings linked to non-medicinal products are due to plants.1

It’s virtually impossible to keep an eye on your pet 24/7, so even if you think he doesn’t chew or nibble on plants, it’s possible he does when you don’t. Don’t look at him. And in some cases, like lilies and cats, even getting pollen on your nose or drinking water from a vase can be fatal.2

It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health, so get rid of any potentially toxic plants before an accident happens.

12 Toxic Plants for Pets

The following examples are not an exhaustive list, but they represent some of the most common plants that pose a poisoning risk to pets.3 To see photos and get even more details, check out the infographic below.

Symptoms of ingesting a poisonous plant vary but may include vomitingdrooling, diarrhea, loss of appetite, foam in the mouth, organ failure and more.

1. Beaver Trash Can

Also known as castor oil plant, mole bean, and African wonder tree, this plant is very toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. Beans are particularly dangerous because they contain ricin, a toxic compound that inhibits protein synthesis. But the whole plant is poisonous.

Consuming as little as 1 ounce of seeds can be deadly. Symptoms may appear 12 to 48 hours after ingestion and include loss of appetite, excessive thirst, weakness, loss of coordination, difficulty breathing, and central nervous system depression.

As symptoms progress, bloody diarrhea, seizures, coma, and death may also occur.

2. Caladium

Also known as malanga, elephant ears, red fire, mother-in-law plant, Texas wonder, angel wings and pink cloud, this plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates which are toxic to dogs and cats .

Symptoms of ingestion include severe burning and irritation of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

3. Lilies

Lilies are very toxic to cats. This includes many varieties including daylilies, Easter lilies, tiger lilies, Asiatic lilies and much more.

Consumption of small amounts of any part of this plant can lead to death from kidney failure in cats. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, depression, kidney failure and death.

4. mute cane

Also known as charming dieffenbachia, snow tropic and exotic, this foliage contains insoluble calcium oxalates which are toxic to dogs and cats.

Ingestion of this plant causes intense irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips as well as vomiting and difficulty swallowing. Contact with the sap of this plant can also cause irritation and eye damage.

5. Pea Rosary

This plant has many names, including precatory bean, Buddhist rosary, love bean, lucky bean, Indian licorice, prayer bean, and weather plant. Toxic compounds called abrin and abric acid in beans are dangerous to dogs, cats and horses.

Eating just one string pea can be fatal, but fortunately the tough outer layer of the seed must be damaged (crushed or cut) to cause harm. So, in many cases, ingesting the seeds can only result in mild illness.

However, if a split pea is ingested, it can lead to severe vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes bloody), tremors, elevated heart rate, shock, fever, and death.

6. Larkspur

Larkspur contains compounds called diterpene alkaloids that are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. The toxicity of this plant is believed to vary depending on the conditions in which it is grown and becomes less toxic as it matures.

If consumed, larkspur can cause neuromuscular paralysis and symptoms such as muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness, seizures, heart failure, and death from respiratory paralysis.

7. Foxglove

Foxglove contains cardiac glycosides that are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. Consumption of this herb can lead to cardiac arrhythmias, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, heart failure, and death.

8. Autumn crocuses

Also known as meadow saffron, autumn crocus contains colchicine and other alkaloids that are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. If your pet consumes it, it can lead to oral irritation, bloody vomit, diarrhea, shock, organ damage, and bone marrow suppression.

9. Sago palm

This popular plant, also known as coontie palm, cardboard palm, cycads and zamias, contains toxic cyasin. It is toxic to dogs, cats and horses and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, jaundice, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising, liver damage, liver failure and death.

ten. Black locust

The entire locust tree, especially the bark and shoots, is toxic to cats and dogs. If consumed, it can cause kidney failure, weakness, nausea, depression and death.

11. Yew

Yew, also known as Japanese yew, English yew and European yew, is toxic to dogs, cats and horses due to the taxine it contains. If consumed, this ornamental tree (including its bark, leaves and seeds) can cause sudden death from heart failure.

Early signs of ingestion include muscle tremors, difficulty breathing and seizures in dogs. Even playing with yew branches or sticks could be potentially fatal for dogs.

12. Oleander

Oleander, or oleander, contains cardiac glycosides that are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. Consuming any part of the plant can lead to colic, diarrhea (possibly bloody), sweating, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, and possibly death from heart failure.

Your pet can be poisoned by accessing pruned or fallen branches while horses can be poisoned by consuming this ornamental plant from new equestrian arenas.

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Seek emergency veterinary care if your pet eats a poisonous plant

If your dog or cat consumes a potentially toxic plant, take him to a emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Prompt treatment can mean the difference between life and death. If you are unsure whether the plant is poisonous, it is best to consult a doctor just in case.

You can also consult the ASPCA Database of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants, which you can search to find out if the plant your pet is consuming warrants a trip to the emergency veterinarian. Additionally, if your pet consumes a potentially poisonous plant or other toxic substance, call your local veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic, or the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison emergency line at 1-888-426- 4435 for the next steps to follow.


Related Articles:

  15 Poisonous Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  Top 10 toxins that could poison your dogs and cats

  Sumptuous but toxic: don’t let your pet get into trouble this spring

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